New Public Health England (PHE) data suggests that the current nasal spray flu vaccine is 87 per cent effective (95% CI: 4-100) in children aged two to 17 years against this season's main circulating strain, influenza A(H1N1)pmd09.
PHE published UK mid-season data on the effectiveness of this season's (2018/19) flu vaccines, alongside data from other countries, in the Eurosurveillance journal.
More UK children have been vaccinated against flu than ever so far this season, with over five million children being offered the nasal spray, said PHE. The vaccine has been offered to an additional school group (year 5), meaning that all children aged two to nine years old are now eligible.
However, vaccine uptake in children aged two and three years is 43 per cent and 45.2 per cent, respectively. Among school-aged children this ranges from 56.2-to-63.9 per cent depending on year group, according to PHE data.
Whilst these are the highest flu paediatric vaccine uptake levels ever, there is still more that can be done to increase uptake, PHE said.
The flu vaccine given to adults aged 18 to 64 years in at-risk groups in the UK is estimated to be 39 per cent effective against the same strain (A(H1N1)pdm09), which has been the main strain circulating this season. As the number of cases is lower, a precise estimate for those aged 65 years and over will not be available until the end of the season.