Over 65s to be offered new flu jab next year, health officials say

Elderly people should be given a new flu jab next year to improve protection, health officials have said.

NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) have written to GPs and pharmacists to help guide their influenza vaccine orders for the 2018/19 season.

People over 65 will be offered the newly-licensed "adjuvanted trivalent" vaccine - which is designed to boost an immune response improving the effectiveness of the vaccine in the older age group.

It was not available for the 2017/18 season, NHS England said.

Those aged 18-64 and at risk should get the quadrivalent vaccine - which provides protection against two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B, NHS England and Public Health England

Eligible children will continue to receive the nasal spray quadrivalent vaccine.

Figures from last week show flu levels "remain high" in the current season, but have been stabilising.

It is estimated flu causes around 8,000 deaths each year.

Professor Paul Cosford, PHE's medical director said: "Vaccination is one of the best public health interventions we have available to us, saving thousands of lives every year.

"We already have one of the best flu vaccination programmes in the world and making these vaccines available next season should offer greater protection than ever before.

"We urge everyone eligible to take up the offer of flu vaccination."

NHS England said suppliers have confirmed that there will be enough adjuvanted trivalent vaccine and quadrivalent influenza vaccine to meet demand.