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Flu vaccination: incentives and on-site jabs trialled to boost care home staff uptake

Only 33% of social care staff in England had the voluntary vaccine in 2020-21

Only 33% of social care staff in England had the voluntary vaccine in 2020-21

Incentives for managers and offering vaccinations in the workplace are just two approaches being tested in a project which aims to boost flu jab uptake among care home staff.

Only one third (33%) of social care staff in England had the voluntary flu vaccination in the 2020-21 programme

Only 33% of social care staff in England had the voluntary vaccine in 2020-21

The FluCare project aims to boost flu jab uptake among care home staff across East Anglia, London and the East Midlands
The FluCare project will work with care homes and pharmacies across East Anglia, London and the East Midlands Picture: Tim Gee

Incentives for managers and offering vaccinations in the workplace are just two approaches being tested in a project which aims to boost flu jab uptake among care home staff.

Only one third (33%) of social care staff in England had the voluntary flu vaccination in the 2020-21 programme, despite a World Health Organization recommendation that more than three quarters of care home staff should be vaccinated against the flu.

Researchers to work with care homes with low vaccination levels

The three-year, £1.4 million FluCare project will work with care homes and pharmacies across East Anglia, London and the East Midlands, and test the approaches in ten care homes during flu season.

Researchers will then work with 70 care homes with low vaccination levels to see how their approaches improve vaccine uptake and whether the health of residents improved.

Views of staff, care home residents and their relatives will also be recorded through the project.

Project hopes to showcase positive impact of the flu vaccine

Registered nurse Luke Cook, head of rehab and nursing at Askham Village Community care homes in Cambridgeshire, will be advising the project from a care home perspective.

‘There may be a host of reasons why nurses and other staff may be averse to having the vaccine. It could be side effects, people not wanting to take time away from work or shift patterns,’ he said.

‘Hopefully this research can showcase the positive impact of the flu vaccine, which in turn can influence the whole sector.’

News of the project comes as all staff working in registered care homes in England need to be double-vaccinated against COVID-19 by 11 November, unless medically exempt.

The FluCare project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research and includes the universities of East Anglia and Liverpool, and Public Health England.

A six-week government consultation is also currently underway about whether to introduce mandatory COVID-19 and flu vaccinations for all front-line health and social care staff in England.


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