Numerous lives could be saved each year, if only everyone over the age of 60 had a flu jab. According to vaccine experts, Dr. Gregory Poland fe that universal vaccination in three regions over two flu seasons reduced mortality from the disease by 40 to 50 per cent. Clearly vaccination can be a life-saver, yet take-up rates are still only around 70 per cent.
Dr Poland proposes some changes to make vaccination universal among the over-65s. First, nurses should be able to prescribe the vaccine to elderly people in hospital. Next, set up special flu clinics and use 'standing orders' for repeat vaccination in doctors' offices, he says. Not only should we prepare for the next flu pandemic, but there's the ugly possibility of facing bioweapons consisting of the flu virus, which could devastate whole communities.