Pharmacies giving flu vaccines to school-age children achieved a lower take-up rate of the vaccine compared with delivery via GPs or schools, figures from Public Health England (PHE) show.
For the first time during the winter flu season of 2015–2016, all schoolchildren in years one and two were offered the seasonal flu vaccine in England.
Two local authorities (LAs) chose pharmacies to deliver the vaccines, and 16.1% of pupils in those LA areas received at least one dose of the flu vaccine between 1 September 2015 and 31 January 2016.
A total of 126 LAs used a school delivery method for the vaccine, and across those areas the take-up was 55.1%. A further nine LAs used a GP delivery model, and the vaccination rate in those areas was 32.9%.
Other data from PHE shows that the overall take-up rate was heavily affected by ethnicity, religious beliefs and deprivation. Areas with an ethnic minority population of 34% or more had a 22% lower vaccination rate compared with areas with an ethnic minority population of less than 5%.
Overall uptake among children living in the least-deprived decile in England was 18.7% higher than those living in the most deprived decile, and was lower in areas with a significant Muslim or Jewish population.
A significantly lower overall uptake, of 17.5%, was seen in London compared with the rest of England.