Hundreds of hospital staff to be vaccinated as flu season approaches
Hundreds of hospital staff are to be vaccinated against flu as winter and the flu season approaches.
Staff at Airedale Hospital will be given their free flu jabs from next week at special Flu Fighter Stations across the hospital. Last year over 75% of staff were vaccinated protecting not only themselves but their families, colleagues and importantly their patients.
It comes after NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens urged hospitals in England to be prepared for a more pressurised flu season this winter and amongst reports of the largest flu outbreak in years in Australia and New Zealand, where they are just coming out of their flu season.
Karl Mainprize, Medical Director at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:
“Flu isn’t just a bad cold, it is a contagious and potentially serious illness especially for elderly people and those with long-term illness. So it’s vital that as many of our staff are vaccinated as possible as they can carry and pass the virus on to others without having any symptoms. Even though they may consider themselves healthy, they may be putting the lives of others at risk.”
Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, which is why it’s sometimes called seasonal flu. It’s a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.
The NHS also offers vaccinations to patients who can have the flu jab free of charge. Eligible groups include:
- everyone aged 65 years or over
- all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
- All those aged two and three years old on 31 August 2017
- All children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four
- Everyone from six months to less than 65 years of age who has a serious medical conditions: chronic respiratory disease, heart disease, kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5, liver disease, splenic dysfunction, neurological disease or diabetes a weakened immune system due to disease or treatment
- everyone living in a residential or nursing home
- everyone who cares for an older or disabled person
- all frontline health and social care workers
- anyone with a BMI above 40
People should contact their GP practice if they are in one of the risk groups described. Also if you want to protect yourself against flu and you’re not in one of the groups above, you can buy the flu jab from high street pharmacies.