By Bethany Hemsley
Frontline health and social care workers are being urged by senior clinicians and leaders to get their annual flu vaccination, which is free of charge from GPs and community pharmacies.
Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England has written to more than a million frontline NHS staff asking them to get the vaccination to protect themselves and their vulnerable patients, particularly with the “added risk of COVID-19 this year”.
Frontline staff are at higher risk of catching flu due to their contact with those they care for.
Hospitals and other local NHS organisations across England will be offering drop-in clinics and promotional activity, with the aim that every single eligible member of staff will receive a vaccination.
Pharmacists are also able to deliver the vaccination to residential care staff at their place of work.
For the first time this year, personal assistants and other social care workers employed through Direct Payments are eligible for free flu vaccinations.
Social care workers do not need to show any ID or a voucher, they just need to attend a vaccination clinic or book an appointment and self-declare as a social care worker.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England said: “If you’re a frontline health or care professional, getting your flu jab is the most effective way to protect yourself and those you care for from what can be a serious and even fatal illness.
“This year, it is more important than ever to get your flu jab with COVID-19 still in circulation. Flu can require hospitalisation, which would add pressure on the NHS and social care when they may also be dealing with cases of COVID-19.
“Getting your flu jab is easy and takes just a few minutes, but it could save someone’s life.”
Care providers should upload staff vaccination status to the Skills for Care’s Adult Social Care Workforce dataset.