Fewer children under four years old are being vaccinated against seasonal influenza indirectly putting the population...

The percentage of two-year-olds receiving the flu jab has decreased from 38.5 per cent in 2014/15 to 35.4 per cent in 2015/16, statistics from the GP patient group data collection survey show.

There was also a decrease in the percentage of at-risk two-year-olds receiving immunisation from 53.7 per cent to 48.3 per cent in one year.

The lowest level of uptake in clinical at-risk groups was 1.7 per cent in patients aged six months to under two years.

At-risk patients include those with chronic disease or weakened immune systems.

“The purpose of the traditional seasonal influenza immunisation programme for England is to offer protection to those who are most at risk of serious illness or death should they develop influenza,” the report stated.

“The childhood live attenuated influenza vaccine programme, which was first implemented in 2013 to 2014, continued its rollout in 2015 to 2016, targeting two to four year old in primary care and all children of school year one and two age for the first time across the UK.

“Ultimately this programme will target all children two to 17 years of age with the aim to both directly protect the vaccinated children themselves and by reducing influenza transmission indirectly protect the rest of the population including those at elevated risk of the severe consequences of influenza infection.”

The lowest level of vaccinated two-year olds by NHSE area teams was 26.6 per cent in London while the highest uptake from area teams was 45.3 per cent in Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Uptake by CCG ranged from the lowest at 16.5 per cent in West London (Kensington & Chelsea and Queen’s Park and Paddington). However nearly seven out of ten two-year-olds, 69 per cent, were vaccinated by their local CCG in Corby.

Three-year-olds were given the vaccination at a rate of 41.3 per cent in 2014/15 compared to 37.7 per cent in 2015/16.

The number of three-year-olds immunised against influenza decreased despite a 26,970 decrease in the age group’s population.

Uptake for three-year-olds by area teams ranged from the lowest at 28.8 per cent in London to the highest at 47 per cent in Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Uptake by CCG for three-year-olds ranged from the lowest at 15.3 per cent in West London (K&C &QPP) to the highest at 56 per cent in North Derbyshire.

The number of three-year-olds receiving vaccines who are in the clinical risk group decreased from 56.4 per cent to 52.3 per cent since last year.

Out of 714,059 registered four-year-olds, 214,506 (30 per cent) were vaccinated against flu.

This figure decreased from 33 per cent in 2014/15.

Just 21.7 per cent of four-year-olds in London were vaccinated by the local area team compared to 39 per cent in Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.

West London CCG vaccinated only 12.6 per cent of four-year-olds this year, while 51.4 per cent of the age group were vaccinated by their CCG in North Derbyshire.