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NHS staff urged to get flu vaccination

41% of staff still not vaccinated

Adrian O'Dowd

Monday, 15 January 2018

NHS leaders have renewed their call for all NHS staff to get the flu vaccination in an attempt to help reduce the spread of flu this winter.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies is one of a group of leading doctors and nurses who have written a letter to NHS staff urging them to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Official estimates are that around 59% of staff across the NHS have had the vaccine, but that means 41% have not and in some trusts, less than 30% of staff are protected.

The letter is signed by Dame Sally, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh (NHS England’s medical director), Professor Paul Cosford (Public Health England medical director) and Professor Jane Cummings (NHS England’s chief nursing officer).

It reminds healthcare workers of the key role they play “in protecting the health of the public” and states their “shared professional responsibility” to protect patients.

Statistics last week showed there was an 86% increase in people newly admitted to intensive care (ICU) with confirmed influenza from the previous week (114 compared to 61 the week before) and there was a three-fold increase in the rate of people admitted to hospital with confirmed flu since the previous week (6.8 per 100,000 compared to 2.33 per 100,000 before).

In addition, over the previous week, there was a 78% increase in the GP consultation rate for flu-like illness and the main strains circulating continued to be flu A(H3N2), A(H1N1) and Flu B.

Dame Sally said: “Flu can kill and it is important we all take it seriously. The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to get the flu jab.”

Sir Bruce said: “The recent flu figures are a reminder that NHS staff should protect themselves, patients and their loved ones by getting vaccinated. We should have a measured debate about making this the norm for doctors, nurses and other frontline NHS staff before next winter.”

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