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Public Health England along with the Department of Health and NHS England have today published the Annual Flu Plan and Letter for 2015/16.
The Plan will aid the development of robust and flexible operational plans by local organisations and emergency planners within the NHS and local government. It provides the public and healthcare professionals with an overview of the coordination and the preparation for the flu season and signposting to further guidance and information.
The main change to the programme this year is the offer of flu vaccination to children of school years 1 and 2 age. Therefore, in 2015/16, the following are eligible for flu vaccination:
- those aged 65 years and over
- those aged six months to under 65 in clinical risk groups
- pregnant women
- all two-, three- and four-year-olds (but not five years or older) on 31 August 2015
- all children of school years 1 and 2 age
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- primary school-aged children in areas that previously participated in primary school pilots in 2014/15.
We expect frontline health and social care workers to be offered flu vaccination by their employer. This includes general practice staff. The Flu Plan is supported by:
- the annual Flu Letter issued alongside the Flu Plan
- the influenza chapter in Immunisation against infectious disease (the Green Book, chapter 19) which is updated regularly, sometimes during a flu season
- Public health functions to be exercised by NHS England: Service specifications No 13 Seasonal influenza immunisation programme (2015-16) and No 13a Seasonal influenza immunisation programme for children (2015-16).