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Nurse chiefs seek to 'dispel myths' over flu jab

It is “imperative” nurses get vaccinated against influenza, England’s most senior nurses have said in the latest attempt to boost notoriously low uptake among NHS staff.

NHS England chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and Department of Health director of nursing Viv Bennett have signed an open letter to nurses and midwives.

It states: “By protecting yourself against flu, you not only set an example to colleagues and peers but also help to continue providing high quality compassionate care to those we care for.”

The letter also includes an information section designed to “dispel any misconceptions” nurses might have over the benefits of the jab and its safety and efficacy.

The most common reasons for not having the jab, it said, were that nurses thought infection control practices were sufficient to avoid catching flu or that a good diet and vitamin supplements worked at least as well as the vaccine.

A record number of NHS staff were vaccinated against flu last winter, but uptake remained less than half of the frontline workforce at 45.6%. Uptake across trusts varied from below 10% to above 90%, according to NHS Employers, which runs the annual “flu fighter” campaign.

It has asked flu leads to communicate the letter and clinical evidence to all staff by “displaying the information on notice boards or printing and sending a copy to all staff”. 

Earlier this month ministers said acute trusts applying for a share of a £250m fund for easing accident and emergency pressures must ensure at least 75% of staff have been vaccinated this year.

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Readers' comments (8)

  • It is a matter of personal choice as to whether someone accepts vaccination.

    Here is real data from the CDC

    "Data from 1,155 children and adults presenting with acute respiratory infection during December 3, 2012, to January 2, 2013, were used to estimate the overall effectiveness of the 2012–13 influenza vaccine. After adjusting for study site, vaccine effectiveness was estimated at 62%, with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 51% to 71%. CDC also reported a stratified vaccine effectiveness of 55% (95% CI 39–67%) against influenza A and 70% (56–80%) against influenza B."

    These figures would tend to suggest limited benefit.

    Hygiene measures do reduce risk and of course anyone with a chronic would be well advised to be vaccinated.

    Attempting to secure addition funding by bullying/blackmailing staff into being vaccinated is typical of the type of "managerial" tactic used in the NHS.

    Are all NHS nurses personal health records to be opened to the scrutiny of "managers"?

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  • I certainly wont be blackmailed into having this jab!

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  • I will not being having this jab either.....its my body and until my employer pays me what I am truly worth, then they will not be dictating to me, what I do and do not inject into my body!

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  • This from the two clowns who came up with the 6C's!! Best if they just kept their cake holes shut. How dare they even mention 'compassionate care'. They have done absolutely nothing to support nurses in their work.

    I have the flu jab for my own reasons and because, having read all the evidence, I have made an informed decision. It is my choice and it should be left to me, and me alone, to make that decision.

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  • They only want us to have the flu jab because they don't want us to go off sick and have to pay to replace us; it's certainly not out of any genuine concern for nurses or their families. Also, any nurse with school age children is likely to catch it from them,as the children are all mixing together in that wonderful germ pool called school!

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  • the 'flu jab is no guarantee against not going off sick with the 'flu or anything else and a few may need to go off sick because of it! It just seems like another means of control.

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  • Indeed it does, and it's outrageous that the extra funding for emergency departments is going to be linked to how many staff the trust manage to vaccinate against flu. Talk about emotional blackmail, but perhaps we shouldn't be surprised as the government will always stoop to the lowest levels to get what they want.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Sep-2013 10:35 pm

    Aided by the toxic twins Cummings&Bennett.

    They do put on a good comedy show!

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