Healthcare Workers ‘have duty to get flu jab’ says top official
An estimated 30 million people will be offered the flu vaccination this year, including all primary school aged children for the first time.
Alongside children, particularly vulnerable groups such as those over 65, healthcare workers and pregnant women will also be offered the jab free of charge.
Speaking on the seriousness of the flu – Professor Yvonne Doyle, of Public Health England, said:
“Some people think the flu is like the common cold. It’s not. It can be a really serious illness and can be deadly for some,”
Around 1,700 deaths were linked to flu last year in the UK alone.
Despite healthcare worker vaccination uptake raising from 50% to 70% last year, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, warned that more healthcare professionals should consider vaccination:
“From a patient perspective, you don’t want to be in a situation where you feel that [only] seven out 10 of the healthcare professionals you meet will be vaccinated.
“We know that flu infections, while sometimes severe, can also be asymptomatic, and staff can spread flu without realising it.
“So I think there’s a very, very strong professional responsibility on healthcare workers to be vaccinated.”
Despite reports of Australia’s particularly difficult time with the flu this year NHS officials have stated that the “unpredictable” nature of the flu season may or may not suggest the UK is also in for a bad flu season.
To be sure more people than ever will be offered the vaccination, completely free of charge. Those not considered to be at risk, can be vaccinated privately for a fee.
While the flu vaccine is “the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus” professional health bodies – including the NHS – state that it is not a “100% guarantee” for being flu-free.
To ensure you are not spreading the flu, it’s important to consider being vaccinated and wearing suitable respiratory protective equipment when appropriate.
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