Despite the low results, officials insisted that the vaccination was still “the best protection” against the flu. Along with cold weather, the virus was attributed to an increase by nearly a third in the number of deaths last winter.
Professor Paul Cosford of PHE said: “Last year we saw a slightly lower vaccine effectiveness than usual. Whilst it’s not possible to fully predict the strains that will circulate in any given season, flu vaccination remains the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths each year among at-risk groups. These include older people, pregnant women and those with a health condition, even one that is well managed.”
Flu is a constantly-changing virus, which is why a new vaccine is needed every year.