News

Don't forget your flu vaccine, recommended for all TOFs - regardless of age!

Published: Fri, 11th October 2019, 11:10:00 AM

That's just one of the key messages from the healthcare professionals at the TOFS 2019 Conference which took place on Saturday 5 October.  

Public Health England routinely measure the vaccine effectiveness (VE) of the flu vaccination and provisional results for the 2017/2018 season showed that the vaccination was particularly effective for those aged between 2-17, with the highest vaccine effectiveness being 90.3% (measured against influenza-laboratory- confirmed primary-care consultations for influenza) for a strain called Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09. 

The vaccine was less effective for those in older age groups, and indeed against other strains of influenza.  Public Health England says that overall these figures support the on-going roll-out of the paediatric vaccine programme, and also highlight the importance of effective interventions to protect the adult age-groups.

As in previous seasons, influenza vaccine effectiveness was measured using a test-negative case control design through five primary care influenza sentinel swabbing surveillance schemes in England (two schemes), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Full information available on the Public Health England website here.

Who should be eligible for the flu vaccine on the NHS?

The flu vaccine is offered free to charge to people who are at risk, and whilst TOF/OA aren't explicity listed as conditions that entitle the patient to receive the vaccine on the NHS, many TOFs will have chronic respiratory history.  If, as an Adult TOF, you find your GP is resistant to giving you the flu vaccine on the NHS, do remind them that the NHS website states that,  'the list of conditions is not definitive.  It's always an issue of clinical judgement.  A GP can assess you to take into account the risk of flu making any underlying illness you may have worse as well as your risk of serious illness from flu itself'. 

We understand that GP surgeries are given enough vaccine for the amount of people on their disease registers and a few extra.  So if you're unsuccessful initially, try again in early December as there is always a likelihood of vaccine being left over.  If all else fails – most chemists give it but charge, usually around £10.

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