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Third of frontline NHS workers vaccinated against swine flu

A third of frontline NHS staff in England have been vaccinated against swine flu, according to latest figures from the Department of Health.

As of last month, 343,000 doses had been administered to frontline workers out of a total of around one million staff.  

A Department of Health spokeswoman said it did not have uptake figures for individual professions. But a recent Nursing Times survey suggests marginally more nurses may have received the vaccine than other groups, with just over half of respondents saying they had received the vaccine (news, page 3, 24 November).

An earlier Nursing Times survey had suggested just 31 per cent of nurses intended to get vaccinated while 47 per cent did not (news, p3, 6 October).

A DH spokeswoman said the department was “encouraged” by the latest uptake figures but warned nurses and other staff not to be complacent about the recent drop-off in swine flu cases. The current GP consultation rate for flu-like illness in England is xx per 100,000 - well below the July peak of 155.

The spokeswoman said: “We have already seen that more than double the number of healthcare workers have had the swine flu vaccine, compared with the seasonal flu vaccine last year.

“Even though cases have gone down many people who have not been infected will remain susceptible to infection unless they are vaccinated.”

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