As many healthcare practitioners know, there has been a great deal of debate about the efficacy and necessity of the flu vaccine. However, over the course of the last three years, more and more countries have begun to offer the flu vaccine, as various severe strains of the virus have been cropping up in different parts of the world. The UK is the latest part of the world to bring the flu vaccine debate to the forefront, and in mid-July, the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) took a firm stance.
The JCVI has now stated that all UK schoolchildren between the ages of 2 and 17 will be offered the flu vaccine. Interestingly, this decision to offer the vaccine is not based on the numbers of cases of children who have come down with the flu over the last few years. Rather it is a decision based on the amount cases of the elderly, or other immune compromised people, who have caught the flu after coming in contact with children. As children are generally healthy, they do not come down with the flu virus, but they do often carry it. The UK expects to roll out the immunization program, which will include flu vaccines and flu test kits, by 2014.