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Flu vaccine - recommended for HIV positive people in the UK

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Simon Collins
Global Moderator
Posts: 651
Flu vaccine - recommended for HIV positive people in the UK
Posted on: September 25 2015, 09:54 am

Fwd: letter to BHIVA recommending HIV positive people have the flu vaccine.

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From the Chief Medical Officer,
Professor Dame Sally C Davies
21 September 2015

To
Dr David Asboe
Chair of Executive Committee British HIV Association bhiva.bhiva.org

Seasonal flu vaccination for people with immunosuppression

I am writing to ask for your help in encouraging your members to have the flu vaccine this winter.
As you know people with immunosuppression are eligible to receive the seasonal flu vaccine free each winter because they are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu because their underlying condition can affect their immune system and so they may be less able to fight off the infection. This means that they are more likely than a healthy adult to be admitted to hospital or on rare occasions be admitted to intensive care and even potentially die. We know that people with immunosuppression are approximately 47 times more likely to die if they develop flu than individuals who have no other underlying health condition.
I want people with immunosuppression to be fully aware of the risks of flu. Even when people manage their condition well and lead otherwise healthy lives, it is still important that they continue to protect themselves by having the vaccine. Last year only 55% of those with immunosuppression had the flu vaccination. This is why I am asking for your help in promoting the benefits of vaccination so that more of your members take up the offer.
Last winter, the number of admissions to hospital and intensive care for illness caused by flu were higher than seen in the previous few years. This is a reminder that flu causes serious illness, and the virus remains highly unpredictable. It is therefore really important that people living with conditions that put them at greater risk of severe disease and complications protect themselves by having the flu vaccine.
You may have heard media reports that the flu vaccine provided lower protection last season than usual. Public Health England (PHE) have recently published the end of season data on the effectiveness of last seasonís flu vaccine, this shows the vaccine was considerably more effective overall than previously reported. The PHE data is published in Eurosurveillance. It is important that your members are not discouraged from taking up the vaccination in the coming season. The vaccine is reviewed every year by the World Health Organisation and throughout the last decade, there has generally been a good match between the strains of flu selected in the vaccine and those that subsequently circulated. The vaccine still provides the best protection available to help protect people at risk from flu and those individuals are advised to seek immunisation.
The flu campaign will be launched on 2 October, as part of an overarching national winter campaign. Prior to launch, Public Health England will contact your press office to provide further information and direct them to resources that may assist in encouraging your eligible members to have a free flu vaccination and take other measures to help them stay as well as possible over winter.
Flu vaccination is important and I urge you to support the programme by publicising the facts about the programme to your members. Once again, thank you for your support. If you would like any further information please email immunisation@phe.gov.uk
Yours sincerely
PROFESSOR DAME SALLY C DAVIES CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER CHIEF SCIENTIFIC ADVISER
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