We are aware that EMIS have released their provisional flu searches for 2020/21. We have done a close comparison of their search results with ours and note that the EMIS searches return many more patients than the Ardens searches. This is largely because the EMIS searches include all school age children within their eligible population. We have removed those who are not otherwise at risk as they are part of the school vaccination programme and GP practices are not paid to vaccinate this group.


Other discrepancies are:

  • EMIS do not include all appropriate BMI codes (they omit the main ‘BMI’ code and just use those which are e.g. ‘Obese’. We have ensured that all patients with appropriate BMI correctly coded are included.
  • EMIS do not include the CHD register – these patients are eligible for a flu vaccine under QOF so need to be recalled so we have included them.
  • EMIS do not include all preparations of e.g. methotrexate and azathioprine (immunosuppressed patients) which means some are not included who should be.
  • EMIS do not include Learning Disabilities patients that should be included.
  • We have included some additional conditions (such as atrial fibrillation) as it is our understanding that these patients are eligible for flu vaccine. 
  • We have auto-included all COVID high risk (shielding) patients on the assumption that these patients will be eligible for a flu vaccine.


As previously stated, until the formal Business Rules are released by NHS England it is impossible to know the exact criteria for patients eligible for flu vaccine. We are confident that the existing Ardens flu searches will align closely with the criteria when they are published (but will not be 100% accurate).