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Blog > Flu vaccine only effective in 34% of cases

Winter Deaths Figures Highest Since 1999

Flu vaccine less effective this year

New figures from the Office for National Statistics estimated there were 43,900 excess deaths in England and Wales last winter, which is the highest number since 1999.

The report suggested that the majority of these deaths occurred in those aged over 75 and was caused largely due to the flu virus and the influenza vaccine that appeared to be less effective than in previous years.

Experts stated that as well as the flu virus, the colder temperature than previous years also factors into the rise in deaths. However, respiratory illnesses such as influenza and pneumonia were responsible for over one third of winter deaths.

The circulation of the flu virus in the winter of 2014/5 had a great impact in the older generation, with a number of care home outbreaks and patients admitted to intensive care. Furthermore, public health experts estimated that last years' flu vaccine was effective in only 34% of cases.

Caroline Abrahams from Age UK said, "Behind the figures are many individual tragedies of older people dying needlessly before their time."

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