Council urges healthcare workers to get FREE flu jab

All health and social care staff are urged to get their flu vaccination now to protect themselves and the most vulnerable people in our communities this winter.

Somerset County Council, along with the Clinical Commissioning Group and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, warn that with COVID-19 also circulating in communities this winter, catching flu and Coronavirus together is even more likely to lead to severe illness, hospitalisation and sadly death.

Therefore, it is more important than ever to reduce the chance of becoming ill with flu this winter, reduce the chance of spreading it to others – and help protect the NHS.

The organisations are urging all care homes and care providers to:

  • Encourage ALL staff to take up the free flu vaccine – to protect patients, staff and themselves.
  • Make sure that all eligible patients are encouraged to have the free flu vaccine.
  • Remind care home visitors to stay away if they have flu-like-symptoms and when visiting to practice good hand hygiene to avoid the spread of infection.

Dr Kate Staveley, Somerset GP and Associate Clinical Director for Women and Children’s Health with Somerset CCG, commented: “This year we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of eligible patients accessing the free NHS flu jab which is fantastic. We encourage all health and social care staff to take advantage of the free vaccine being offered to help protect their patients and loved ones – I’ve certainly had mine.”

Flu can confine the fittest of people to bed – we know that for older people or those with long-term health conditions, the effects of flu can be much more serious, and in some cases even fatal.

Vaccination helps to reduce spread to the wider public and demand on the wider health system at a time when Coronavirus is already putting it under pressure.

As well as encouraging the care sector to take up the free flu vaccine, Somerset County Council is also offering its own frontline staff, a free flu jab again this year, to help prevent the spread of flu.

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council member responsible for health and wellbeing, said: “Providing the flu vaccine to staff who are regularly in contact with vulnerable people helps prevent the spread of this serious illness – particularly to those who are affected by it the most.

“We would urge all eligible social care staff to protect themselves and the vulnerable people they care for and get a flu jab.”

For most people flu is horrible, but not life threatening. However, for those in certain ‘at risk’ groups, flu can be deadly. Many of us will carry the flu virus without showing symptoms and could unknowingly pass it on to the most vulnerable people in our community.

For more information on the flu vaccination and who is eligible go to: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/flu/