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Flu jabs for nurses: one in three did not have this season’s vaccine by new year

Front-line nurses’ uptake falls far short of NHS vision for workforce flu immunisation in winter 2019/2020

Front-line nurses’ uptake falls far short of NHS vision for workforce flu immunisation in winter 2019/2020

One in three nurses in the NHS in England did not have this season's flu vaccine.

In total, 122,525 nurses involved in direct patient care had not had this winter's flu vaccine by new year's eve, provisional Public Health England figures show. 

In 19 out of 232 organisations, the nurse uptake was under 50%, and in a quarter it was under 60%.   

    NHS aspires to 100% flu vaccine coverage in the workforce

    In contrast, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) wants a 100% flu vaccine uptake among healthcare workers.

    While no NHS employer has achieved this, the highest participation level among nurses was at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, where rates exceeded 90%.

    Employer ‘addresses staff concerns’ about having the flu jab

    Some workplaces with very low uptake said they were trying to establish reasons for any reluctance.

    At one of the country's largest nurse employers, Bart's Health NHS Trust in London, only 45.6% of 5,034 nurses involved in direct patient care had been vaccinated by new year.

    However, a trust spokesperson said the vaccination rate – they include midwives in this figure – is now just over 50%.

    'We are looking at the reasons behind low uptake, and helping staff overcome any issues they have about the vaccine and allaying misconceptions,' the spokesperson said. 

    Another employer struggling with low vaccine uptake of these is West London NHS Trust, where front-line nurse vaccination is at 38.4%

    'Despite our proactive approach, this remains inadequate,' a spokesperson said.

    'We continue to address staff concerns about it, while seeking to understand why uptake remains low.'


    Further information

    See the latest figures from Public Health England


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