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Influenza vaccination policy and high risk subjects

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 01 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:349

Targeting and delivery should remain in general practice

  1. E Willis, General practitioner
  1. Elsham, Lincolnshire DN20 0RG
  2. Gwent Health Authority, Mamhilad, Pontypool, Gwent NP4 0YP

    EDITOR—Watkins criticises the existing general practice based influenza immunisation programme.1 He declares no conflict of interest but his study was funded by the Association for Influenza Monitoring and Surveillance, which is a publicity organisation funded by manufacturers of influenza vaccines. Watkins is a member of the association's advisory board. Interestingly, the association has been deleted from the BMA's information service database.

    A similar survey was conducted in this area, also in 1994-5. It was financed by the medical audit advisory group and the health authority (now South Humber Health Authority), and the results were different from those reported by Watkins. Lists of inpatients aged over 60 who had been discharged with heart failure, chronic lung disease, and diabetes were obtained from two local hospitals. The general practice records of each patient were then examined for details of influenza vaccination. A group at genuine high risk was identified. Overall, 68% of the patients had been immunised during the previous winter, and 15 out of 37 practices achieved …

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