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Nurses encouraged to have flu vaccination ahead of winter

Infection experts are encouraging nurses to ensure they have a flu vaccination to protect patients and colleagues.

Infection experts are encouraging nurses to ensure they have a flu vaccination to protect patients and colleagues


Picture: Justin Slee

The Infection Prevention Society’s (IPS) warning comes as Public Health England data reveals 54% of NHS staff have still not been immunised against the virus this winter.

The figures for October show uptake of the voluntary vaccine programmes by front-line health workers in England has risen 6% to 46% compared to the same time last year.

NHS England’s target is for 75% of all staff to be immunised.

The IPS, which represents 2,000 professionals working in infection prevention and control, says around quarter of healthcare staff will get the flu, and half of these will spread infections despite showing no major symptoms themselves.

Keeping the workforce 'fighting fit'

IPS president Neil Wigglesworth said: ‘It’s worrying that as we head into winter over half of healthcare workers, including front-line nurses, are not vaccinated against the threat of flu, which can have devastating effects on patient and staff safety, as well causing havoc to vital NHS services through staff sickness.

‘With the added threat of the Australian flu strain reaching Europe, front-line nurses, colleagues and patients are even more vulnerable.

‘Infection prevention through vaccination is critical to keep our workforce fighting fit.’

The society claims concerns over the vaccine’s effectiveness remain a key reason for not getting one.

More nurses having flu vaccination could cut absence rates, study shows


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