In order to understand motivations and barriers to vaccination, and to identify people's intentions to get vaccinated for season 2007-8, influenza vaccination coverage was assessed in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2001 to 2007. Between 2001 and 2007 representative household surveys were performed by telephone interview with 12,143 individuals aged 16 or older. The overall influenza vaccination coverage rate dropped non-significantly from 25.9% in 2005-6 to 25.0% in 2006-7 (p=0.510). In the elderly (>/=65 years) the rate decreased from 78.1% to 65.3% (p=0.001), and the odds ratio of being vaccinated compared to those not belonging to any of the risk groups targeted by vaccination decreased from 36.6 to 19.9. Healthcare workers and chronically ill persons had odds ratios of 2.0 and 15.5, respectively. The most important reason for getting vaccinated was a recommendation by the family doctor or nurse, and this was also perceived as the major encouraging factor for vaccination. No recommendation from the family doctor was the main reason for not getting vaccinated. A total of 38.4% of the respondents intended to get immunised against influenza in 2007-8. From 2001 to 2006 a slightly increasing trend (p for trend across seasons <0.0001) in vaccination coverage was observed in the UK, but in 2006-7 the rates returned to the level of 2004-5. Less media attention to the threat of avian influenza after 2005 may have contributed to the recent decrease of vaccination rates.