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Seasonal Flu Vaccination

Every year the Trust offers a free seasonal flu vaccination to every member of staff and our local flu leads try to encourage staff to have the vaccine with varying degrees of success. Between myself and the local flu leads we have heard every excuse for not having the vaccine, from “it will give me the flu” to “I have never had the flu so I don’t need it” and even “It won’t kill me if I do get the flu will it”.

 

Flu FighterAt the time of writing this article we have only vaccinated 47% of our frontline healthcare workers (FHW) despite all the efforts of the local flu leads and other willing volunteers helping out with the vaccinations on stations and in EOC’s / 111. Last year we managed to vaccinate 61.4% of FHW’s which was our best ever total, but still some way off the Department of Health’s 75% recommendation.

I have spoken to many of you about the reasons for having the flu vaccination and have even changed the minds of a few that have never had the vaccination before and their feedback to me was generally “it has never been explained to me like that before”.

So for those of you that I haven’t had the chance to speak to me face to face here is my reason for having the flu vaccination every year;

“I have been in the ambulance service for 29 years and although, like most of us, I have built up an immunity to many of the infections we come into contact with on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean that I have not become a carrier of that infection and passed it onto a patient without knowing. Flu doesn’t always present in the same way and for some of us it may just seem like a heavy cold and therefore we just carry on as we don’t want to go sick, but that heavy cold / flu virus can be transmitted to the weak and vulnerable patients we care for and guess what? It can KILL them.

The vaccine doesn’t give 100% protection however it is still the best form of protection we have in the locker along with standard universal infection prevention and control precautions especially hand hygiene compliance.

The flu virus can mutate and that is why you need a vaccine every year and as we all know two years ago another strain of the virus appeared in the community that wasn’t part of that year’s vaccine. However, the vaccine that year still protected us against three of the strains that were out in the community and the following year that new strain was part of the vaccine.

I attended a flu vaccination conference earlier this year and was able to hear first-hand about Adele’s story. Some of you may have taken the time to view it on the Intranet already, but for those of you that haven’t please click on the link below and have a listen to her story and then have another think about why you should consider having the flu vaccination every year”.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for those of you that would like to have the vaccine please click on the link below to find your local flu lead who can help you get the vaccine at a time / location that suits you.

Find your Flu Lead

Adele’s Story

Adele Joicey had a complicated pregnancy and her identical twins were born premature and had breathing problems. Her story is one of many where the care of NHS staff saved her family. 

However, Adele is conscious that if her sons caught the flu it could prove to be deadly to them, even now. She asks all NHS staff to get their jab since they could, without any symptoms, spread the flu to her children and this would have a huge impact on her family.

flufighter: Adele's story from NHS Employers on Vimeo.

http://www.nhsemployers.org/case-studies-and-resources/2016/10/flu-adele-story

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