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Season’s greetings – and a reminder to get your jabs 

Nurses are being urged to take up their COVID-19 booster and flu jabs to help ease staff sickness ahead of a possible twin epidemic this winter
A man dressed in a Santa costume receives a vaccination

Nurses are being urged to take up their COVID-19 booster and flu jabs to help ease staff sickness ahead of a possible twin epidemic this winter

Nurses are being urged to take up their COVID-19 booster and flu jabs to help ease staff sickness ahead of a winter ‘twindemic’.

As the UK heads into its first post-pandemic Christmas without restrictions, chief medical officer Chris Whitty urged healthcare workers on social media to get their latest jabs, as he said hospital admissions for flu are rising ‘especially for the elderly and children’.

Nurses are being urged to take up their COVID-19 booster and flu jabs to help ease staff sickness ahead of a possible twin epidemic this winter

A man dressed in a Santa costume receives a vaccination
Picture: Alamy

Nurses are being urged to take up their COVID-19 booster and flu jabs to help ease staff sickness ahead of a winter ‘twindemic’.

As the UK heads into its first post-pandemic Christmas without restrictions, chief medical officer Chris Whitty urged healthcare workers on social media to get their latest jabs, as he said hospital admissions for flu are rising ‘especially for the elderly and children’.

Hospital trusts around the country are also reminding front-line staff to drop into clinics and get their boosters, in an effort to combat staff sickness and absence rates in the months ahead.

Hospital coronavirus admissions are falling but flu cases are going up

North Bristol NHS Trust is opening its staff clinic for extended hours this week, while University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust praised a team who had already received their vaccinations ‘as it is important that we all do our bit to protect ourselves, our families and patients’.

Latest staff data shows that 10% of nurse sickness absence rates in England are due to colds, coughs or influenza and a further 10% because of respiratory problems.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of coronavirus admissions in hospitals is falling, with 4,600 patients testing positive for COVID-19 in hospitals in England on 23 November, down 8% from the previous week.

Meanwhile, the latest weekly winter update shows a 40% jump in the number of patients in hospital with flu compared with the previous week, with an average of 482 flu cases in hospital each day last week, up from 344.

The push to get nurses jabbed comes as the government’s winter campaign drive saw Santa Clauses get their doses from GP and tv presenter Dr Hilary Jones at a ‘pop-up vaccination grotto’ in a festive stunt. The Santa school graduates queued to get double-boosted ahead of their busy season delivering goodwill across London.

UK Health security Agency director of public health programmes Mary Ramsay said she would encourage anyone who is eligible for boosters to come forward for their jabs, including staff.

‘We’re all looking forward to a Christmas without restrictions, but we must remain vigilant against COVID-19 and flu,’ said Dr Ramsay.

‘Vaccines are the best protection we have against these life-threatening viruses, so I encourage everyone who is eligible to boost their immunity this winter so we can all enjoy the festive season more safely.’


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