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Over 65s flu vaccination programme was ineffective, data show

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4146 (Published 05 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4146
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

Last winter’s flu vaccination programme in the over-65s was ineffective, according to new data from Public Health England (PHE).1

Provisional estimates show that for all age groups combined, the vaccine effectiveness against influenza A and B was 39.8% (85% CI 23.1 to 52.8). But for the over-65s, the principal target of the campaign, effectiveness was −6.3% (CI −95.5 to 42.0).

PHE said that the failure of the campaign in older people meant that better vaccines were needed for them. “It is increasingly recognised that the current generation of flu vaccines often work less well in the elderly, likely because of factors such as the weaker immune systems in this population,” a statement said in response to questions from The BMJ. “Nonetheless, over a number of years, …

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