Nurses are being urged to get a flu jab “as soon as possible” to protect themselves and patients this winter.
The Royal College of Nursing has stressed the importance of vaccination for all nursing staff, who are at greater risk of getting infected than people who do not work in frontline healthcare.
“For nurses on the frontline, getting vaccinated against flu is about more than protecting themselves, it’s about protecting the patients they care for too,” said Helen Donovan, the RCN’s public health lead.
“It can take two weeks to develop immunity following vaccination – another reason to get vaccinated as soon as possible”
Every year people die or are admitted to hospital because of flu and its complications with the sick, elderly, and pregnant women who are all most at risk.
Ms Donovan warned nurses could carry and pass on the virus to others without ever having symptoms and urged RCN members to contact their occupational health departments or line managers to find out how to get vaccinated.
“It can take two weeks to develop immunity following vaccination – another reason to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” she said.
Recent years have seen an increase in the uptake of the flu vaccine among NHS staff from 35% in 2010/11 to 55% in 2013/14.
The annual Flu Fighter campaign to encourage staff to get the jab is co-ordinated by NHS Employers and Public Health England and supported by the Department of Health.