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Nurses having the flu vaccine can mean 'life or death' for patients, RCN says

RCN public health adviser Helen Donovan has urged all nurses to have the flu vaccine

The RCN has called on all nursing staff to have the flu vaccine claiming it could make a ‘life or death difference’ to their patients. 

RCN public health adviser Helen Donovan explained that up to one in four frontline staff may become infected with flu over the winter and warned nurses they can carry and pass on the virus without ever having symptoms.

‘Every year there are hospital admissions and deaths caused by flu and its complications. In vaccinating yourself you will help to stop it spreading to your patients,’ she said.

The flu vaccine differs annually as the World Health Organization decides which strains of flu are most likely to be circulating each year and includes them in the vaccine, according to the college.

Ms Donovan added: ‘The vaccine normally provides protection for between 50% and 70% and could make a life or death difference to one of your patients.’ 

She urged nurses to contact their occupational health department or line manager to find out how to get vaccinated.

Vaccination uptake in healthcare staff with direct patient care has increased from 35% in 2010/11 to 55% in 2013/14.

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