§ Mr. Duncan
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been issued through what channels, on the vaccination of pensioners against influenza. 
§ Ms Jowell
Influenza vaccine is recommended for all those in whom the disease is more likely to be a serious illness, so immunisation is recommended forthose with chronic respiratory or heart disease or renal disease, diabetes and those who are immunosuppressedthose living in long stay residential accommodationfrom this year, all those aged 75 and over.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Chief Nursing Officer wrote to doctors and nurses advising them of this extension in policy in a joint letter in August 1998 (Personal Letter/CM098/4 Personal Letter/CNO/98/6) and a Health Services Circular (HSC 1998/140) was sent to health authorities. The Department has issued a poster and updated its two leaflets about influenza: 'What should I do about flu?' and 'Flu vaccination', available from surgeries and health centres. Copies are available in the Library.
On 19 October, the CMO launched 'Flu Awareness Week' at a press conference organised jointly with AIMS (the Association for Influenza Monitoring and Surveillance).