NHS England has announced that care staff are able to have a free flu jab, in a repeat of last year’s scheme.
Free injections for care staff are available from GPs and community pharmacies. NHS England says that scheme is not intended to replace any established occupational health schemes that employers have in place to offer the flu vaccination to their workforce.
In a letter, NHS England says: “We would urge employers to continue their efforts to protect their staff and most vulnerable patients/clients by encouraging frontline social care staff to be immunised… to protect themselves, their families and the vulnerable people they care for. Flu outbreaks can cause severe disruption to health and social care services in the winter months.
“We would expect the commissioners and providers of social care to identify and engage eligible staff so ensure there is good uptake of vaccination when the flu programme starts.”
The extension to the seasonal influenza vaccine will be available to health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza.
Flu is a serious illness in vulnerable people, potentially causing deaths and complications such as pneumonia. Vulnerable means those patients/clients in a clinical risk group for flu or who are aged 65 years and over.