By Madeleine Brindley, Western Mail
24 January 2011
WALES’ leading doctor yesterday spoke of his disappointment at poor vaccine take-up rates in the face of the most severe winter flu season in a decade.
Dr Tony Jewell also said he was disappointed people eligible for a free flu jab did not keep their appointments in October and November when supplies of the vaccine were plentiful.
Cases of seasonal flu in Wales hit a 10-year high this winter – the GP consultation rate reached a peak of 92.8 per 100,000 population in 2011’s first week of the year. And to date there have been 28 flu-related deaths in Wales.
Officials are now planning for next winters’ flu season. They will consider the best ways of increasing up-tale and whether eligibility for a flu jab should be extended to other vulnerable groups, such as children.
Public health experts have suggested GPs should be paid bonuses as an incentive for hitting the Welsh vaccine take-up targets but that they should lose responsibility for ordering supplies of the seasonal flu jab.
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