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£500 fee up for grabs in flu vaccination trial

A £500 participation fee is available to care homes in England taking in flu vaccination uptake research.

Researchers from the Universities of East Anglia and Leicester aim to try to improve flu vaccination rates in older age care homes.

Currently, across England, an average of 30 per cent of care home staff receive the flu vaccination. This contrasts with the World Health Organisation target of 70 per cent.

DHSC has advised that flu is now circulating at higher levels than recent seasons.

In a notice it advises that there is a “particular need” for the health and social care workforces to take up the offer.

Latest UKHSA data shows there have been jumps in emergency department flu attendances and hospital admissions in the last week. The intensive care admission rate is now higher for flu than for COVID-19. Antiviral medicines can now be prescribed in primary care settings to groups such as care home residents who have been exposed to flu-like illness.

In the week 14 to 20 November 2022:

  • the hospital admission rate for flu increased to 24 per million population, up from 15 per million the previous week. The highest rates were in the under 5s followed by the 75 years plus group. The COVID-19 rate was 44 per million population
  • the intensive care and high dependency care for influenza increased to 21 per 10 million population compared to 13 per 10 million population in the previous week. The highest rates were in the under 5s followed by the 65 years plus group. The COVID-19 rate was 17 per 10 million population.

UEA and Leicester university researchers believe that measures to improve vaccination rates could include on-site staff focused flu vaccination clinics, posters about flu vaccination and a financial incentive for care homes that hit their flu vaccination target.

Participating homes will need to collect and submit a small amount of data each month. Half will receive the above resources to test their efficacy and develop evidence for a future national contract for flu vaccination in care homes.

Interested homes should email flu.care@uea.ac.uk or contact Jen Pitcher, FluCare Recruitment Lead on 07795126728. Information is also available at www.flucare.co.uk

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