Dr Richard Halvorsen

offering vaccine choice

2012/2013 flu vaccine didn't work very well

A large study undertaken in seven European countries has found that last season's flu vaccine had an effectiveness of less than 50% in preventing laboratory confirmed influenza. The study found that the effectiveness of the 2012/13 flu jab varied from 50% against influenza B to 42% against influenza A (H3N2). The effectiveness was even less in children under 15 years of age in whom the vaccine worked in less than a third. These results challenge the UK governments' decision to offer the flu vaccine to all children every year. However the live vaccine being offered to children in the UK may be more effective than the inactivated vaccine studied in this research. Nevertheless, it has been acknowledged that one of the main reasons the vaccine is being offered to all children is not for the children's benefit but so they do not catch flu and pass it on to the frail and elderly in whom flu can be more dangerous. Flu is rarely serious in healthy children.

Added 14 Feb 2014