More than half a million NHS staff in England have been vaccinated against influenza so far this year, marking the most successful campaign to date.
Between 1 September and 30 November, 55.6% of frontline workers in the health service – or 533,389 – received the vaccine, according to official figures from Public Health England.
“It’s not easy for busy NHS staff to find time to get vaccinated but more are having it done”
The annual campaign to get staff protected against the virus is still only half way through. Last year, by the end of the campaign in February, only 50.6% of all staff had been vaccinated.
Previously, the record for vaccination uptake was 54.9% of staff between the start of September 2014 and the end of February 2015.
NHS Employers, which runs the annual campaign that promotes flu vaccinations to staff, said the results so far were better than expected.
“We said last month that we were off to a good start and that we planned to beat the 50.6 % total at the end of last winter. It turns out that we exceeded expectations,” said NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer.
“We want to thank the amazing and creative staff throughout the NHS who volunteer their time to promote these lifesaving vaccines,” he said. “This will help keep staff healthy this winter and reduce the risk to patients.
“It’s not easy for busy NHS staff to find time to get vaccinated but more are having it done. We are still on track for our eventual goal of making frontline staff vaccinations as universal as washing our hands,” he added.