In the UK, the flu vaccination is proving even more successful in minors than in adults, according to mid-season statistics.
The flu vaccine comes in nasal spray form and is 87 per cent effective in minors aged between 2 and 17 years against one of the main strains of flu – influenza A H1N1/09 – according to Public Health England (PHE).
These figures compare with the relatively low protection in adults aged 18 to 64 of just 39 per cent against the same strain. Available research shows that more children are being vaccinated than in previous years; however, the uptake figures are lower in younger age groups.
Academic research into the effectiveness of nasal spray flu vaccine has been published, with statistics revealing that 43 per cent of two-year-olds have had the flu vaccine and 45 per cent of three-year-olds.
The figures increase to 56 to 64 per cent of school-aged children who have had the flu vaccine, dependent on the school year.
2018 final statistics revealed that the flu vaccination was just 15 per cent effective for all ages. These figures took into account the effectiveness of up to 27 per cent in minors aged between 2 and 17, 12 per cent in the at-risk category aged 16 to 64, and just 10 per cent in those aged 65 and over. To increase effectiveness, a new booster vaccination has been introduced for those over 65 years old.
Medical refrigeration of the vaccine is required, which is available through companies such as Fridge Freezer Direct suppliers of medical refrigeration.
According to the head of immunisation at PHE, Dr Mary Ramsay, children tend to be flu ‘super-spreaders’; therefore, vaccinating them is vital to give protection to all other groups. She is encouraged by the latest uptake figures for the vaccine, which requires medical refrigeration, remarking that this year’s vaccinations offer “a level of protection against the main strain of flu – particularly for children.”
She advocates the flu vaccine and hopes that anyone eligible will get themselves vaccinated each winter, advising: “It’s the best defence we have against this unpredictable virus.”
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, confirmed: “Our world-leading vaccination programme saves lives and I urge all parents of young children to make sure their child is vaccinated against flu and other childhood diseases”.