A small national study was carried out in England in 2003/2004 to ascertain the views of primary care trusts (PCTs) and general practitioners (GPs) on whether influenza immunisation should be extended to all people aged 50-64 years from the current recommendation of 65 years or more. Results showed that as many primary care trusts would be in favour, as would not be in favour. A similarly divided view was expressed by general practitioners. Vaccine uptake rates for high-risk (HR) and low-risk (LR) adults aged 50-64 years in the study population were higher in those practices where the GP was in favour of a more inclusive policy of offering flu vaccine to all persons aged 50 years or more, compared with those that did not favour this policy (60% versus 54% HR (p = 0.02) and 16% versus 11% LR (p = 0.02)). Higher rates of vaccine uptake for low-risk patients aged 50-64 years were also reported from practices where GPs perceived a greater health benefit of immunisation for this age group. Although policy for recommending vaccine to all patients aged 50 years or more is established elsewhere, opinion on whether such a policy should be adopted in England is currently divided amongst those providing local health services.
- Vaccine uptake