New data suggests Flu Vaccines work better in Children
So far, the flu vaccine is proving to be more effective in children than in adults in the UK according to recent mid-season research.
The nasal spray flu vaccine has been showing around 87 percent effectiveness in children aged two to seventeen against the main circulating flu strain, Influenza, according to data from Public Health England.
There isn’t any data available for over 65s but the vaccine is currently 39 percent effective against the same strain in adults aged 18 to 64, suggesting that the current vaccine really is going a long way in preventing cases of the flu in young people.
The research shows that more children than ever are being vaccinated despite take-up being lower in the younger age groups, this could be down to the creation of a nasal spray variant that does not require an injection.
These are just the initial figures and so they are subject to revision by the end of flu season in May and so that is when more data will be available.
Up to 64 percent of school children have been vaccinated, depending on the year group. When it comes to two years old, just over 40 have been vaccinated with 45 percent of three years olds getting a vaccination.
At the end of last year, the final figures showed that for the whole season (2017-18) the vaccine was only 15 percent effective for all the groups. This included the effectiveness of around 27 percent in children aged between two and seventeen, 12 percent among people in at-risk groups aged 18-64 and 10 percent in those aged 65 and over.
In the latest flu season, there is a new booster vaccine which has been brought in to improve the efficiency among the over 65s.
Spreading the Flu
The head of immunisation at PHE, Dr Mary Ramsay said that “it is encouraging to see that this year’s vaccines are offering a high level of protection against the main circulating strain of flu – particularly for children.”
Ramsay continued by saying:
“Children tend to be ‘super-spreaders’ of flu and so protecting them is crucial for protecting the rest of the population. We’re pleased that more parents have been taking up the offer of vaccination for their children and encourage anyone who is eligible to do so every winter. It’s the best defence we have against this unpredictable virus.”
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has added:
“The most basic instinct for any parent is to do whatever they can to protect their child. Vaccinations save countless lives and are absolutely vital. More children have been vaccinated this year to protect against flu and it is a positive sign that the vaccine itself appears to be more effective than in previous years. 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.”