Flu vaccination levels among NHS staff in England have reached another high, with almost 62% of staff now protected against the virus this winter.
According to official figures released yesterday, 594,700 employees had the vaccine between 1 September and 31 December.
Before Christmas, the previous record was broken when the statistics showed 55% of frontline workers in the health service had already been vaccinated by that point – higher than the 50% by the end of the season last year.
The NHS Employers organisation, which runs an annual “flu fighter” campaign to support staff to get vaccinated, noted a series of “jabathon” events during December had helped improve uptake this winter.
In total, more than 61,000 employees were protected against the virus in December compared with around 28,500 the previous year.
“Winter puts a lot of strain on the NHS and its hard-working staff. It’s inspiring that so many of them find time to get vaccinated”
The campaign runs until the end of February and vaccination rates are expected to rise further.
NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: “Fortunately we haven’t seen a major outbreak of flu in years but it continues to be a real threat to staff, patients and even the sustainability of services during winter.
“Every one of these safe, effective vaccinations helps keep flu out of the NHS.”
“Winter puts a lot of strain on the NHS and its hard-working staff. It’s inspiring that so many of them find time to get vaccinated, which is entirely voluntary, and help to make it accessible to colleagues,” he added.
“We continue to be on track for our eventual goal of making frontline staff vaccinations as universal as washing our hands,” said Mr Mortimer.