Letter: Flu vaccinations

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your report (18 September) urging patients with colds and flu not to clog up GPs' surgeries makes a fair point.

However, it omitted to mention that flu can be a serious illness for many older people. The Department of Health advises that people with chronic lung, heart or kidney disease, or with diabetes or a damaged immune system, should seek an annual flu vaccination. Help the Aged promotes this message, because of the incidence of these conditions in our older population.

Whilst we support moves to cut out frivolous use of GPs' time, it is important to ensure that flu is taken seriously by those for whom it is a real risk. The vaccinations are 70 per cent effective, they minimise complications, and they save lives.


Head of Public Affairs

Help the Aged, London EC1