For 2020/21 Scotland expanded the categories of people who would receive the free flu vaccine. As a result of increased uptake of the vaccine and measures people have put in place to limit the spread of Covid, cases of seasonal flu are much reduced this year.
The flu vaccine was delivered differently for 2020/21 and was available in various venues to make it easier for people to get vaccinated. An unfortunate result of this is that although it is known that vaccinations are up on 2019/20 the numbers available are estimates. This is due to the digital infrastructure not being in place to capture all the data from the different sources at this point in time.
The data presented indicate the estimated influenza vaccine uptake to the end of Week 51, 2020 (20th December 2020)
To week 51, provisional data on influenza vaccine uptake for eligible cohorts in Scotland are estimated as:Week ending 10 January 2021 – week 1
• 79.0% for those aged 65 years and over
• 53.8% for those under 65 years old in an at-risk group
• 44.5% in pregnant women (including those with and without risk factors)
• 59.3% in preschool children (aged 2 to under 5 years, not yet in school)
• 75.3% in primary school children
• 39.6% in health & social care staff
• 54.1% in unpaid and young carers
Influenza is reported in a seasonal cycle which, this season, runs from week 40 (28/09/20) to week 20 (17/05/21).
There was a push to get people to have the flu vaccine as health professionals were extremely worried about the combined effects of flu and contracting covid.
It should be noted that the data on vaccine uptake for health and social care staff at the end of week 51 is incomplete and thus, the reported uptake (39.6%) is underestimated. The data for these groups have been combined at this time and work is underway to report these cohorts separately. It is expected that this will be updated in a future report.
It should also be noted that those in Phase 2 of the vaccination programme (ages 60 – 64) are not included in this data as that group of people had only just been getting their vaccinations done at the point of collecting this data.
What it does show is that getting vaccinated and following the FACTS advice that goes with Covid has helped to limit the transmission of the flu virus.
The Covid vaccine is on track too .