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An important, quick and easy step NHS and adult social care staff can take in preparation for winter

Posted by Jonathan Van-Tam - Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dec 13, 2018 Posted in News

Two months ago I wrote about the need for NHS and adult social care staff to help save more lives by getting their flu vaccine ahead of this winter.

This crucial vaccine helps protect staff and those they care for from catching what can be a serious and sometimes life-threatening virus.

As we head towards winter, I’m taking a moment to reflect and review on how engaged staff already are with this scheme and how, together, we can increase vaccine uptake even further. 

The latest figures show that during September and October 46.3% of NHS healthcare workers took up the flu vaccine offer – that’s roughly 6,700 more staff than in the same period last year.

It’s positive to see that more NHS staff are getting their flu jab earlier; and I hope this puts us on a good course towards achieving our vision for 100% of frontline health and care workers vaccinated.

Although there isn’t much flu about yet, we can’t be complacent. We need to encourage the 1.47 million social care workers in England, who can access the flu vaccine from their GP or pharmacy for the second year running this winter, to get theirs too.

We know that people aged 65 and over are more vulnerable to the complications associated with flu. That’s why social care workers taking up their free vaccine is vital and can help to protect this vulnerable group. Up to 50% of flu infections are asymptomatic, which means that the infection is easily spread without realising.

I want to ask you – our hardworking health and social care workers – to continue to promote this vaccine to your colleagues and to let me know in the comments section below what you think we could be doing differently to help inspire people to get vaccinated.

Are there barriers to you getting the vaccine in time that we need to know about? Or perhaps your care home is very good at helping staff get vaccinated and you’d like to advise us and the NHS workforce on the practical steps you have taken.

By staff taking up their flu vaccine they can help save lives, so we need your help!

To find out more about the flu vaccine visit the NHS Employers website, where you can also download digital resources such as: campaign planning guidesevaluation guides and a communication toolkit

This post was edited on Jun 7, 2019 by Adam DHSC

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Comments (3)

PATRICIA CLARKE says... Dec 13, 2018

Unless people sign a declaration that they choose to opt out of having a vaccine, it should be assumed that they consent to have a flu vaccine.

Sarah O'Connor says... Dec 19, 2018

Our local GP practices have both visited to administer the vaccine to residents. Perhaps extending this service to also giving it to staff would be helpful? I'm not registered with either of these practices but should that matter if the bigger picture is about achieving herd immunity to protect those who cannot have the vaccine? 

Thanks for your suggestion Sarah. It is certainly worth considering if this could work.

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