The adjuvanted trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (aTIV) is available for the first time this year in the UK for those aged 65 and over. The vaccine has the potential to prevent deaths and significantly reduce the burden on the NHS, delegates at the recent Public Health England (PHE) conference heard.
Published data indicate that the adjuvanted vaccine has higher immunogenicity and effectiveness in the elderly than non-adjuvanted vaccines. PHE said the aTIV could reduce GP consultations by 30,000, hospitalisations by over 2,000 and prevent over 700 influenza-related hospital deaths in England.
The broader flu vaccination programme will also be improved, with the injectable quadrivalent vaccine being offered to all eligible adults under 65 years, including pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions.
Availability of the nasal spray vaccine is being expanded to include primary school children in year 5 (650,000 extra children), meaning the vaccine will be offered to children in years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. PHE estimates that the move will prevent 63,000 GP consultations each year.
The flu vaccine will be available from early October. PHE’s annual flu marketing campaign will launch on 8 October and will target at-risk audiences including pregnant women, parents of children aged two to three years and adults with long-term health conditions.