Record levels of NHS staff have been coming forward to get vaccinated at the start of the 2016-17 influenza season, according to the latest official figures.
The figures, published by Public Health England, reveal 372,339 (40.4%) frontline health workers in England were already vaccinated by 31 October 2016.
“We’re immensely proud of the efforts being made by staff”
This is higher than any figures recorded at the same stage during previous winters, including 312,203 (32.4%) last winter.
The highest uptake at this stage of any flu season in previous years was during the same period – 1 September to 31 October – in 2014, which was 340,826 (36.8%).
The results were “being celebrated by NHS trusts up and down the country”, said NHS Employers, which runs the annual Flu Fighter campaign to encourage more staff to get vaccinated.
NHS Employers, which represents trusts and is part of the NHS Confederation, said it was hopeful the final end-of-winter tally would exceed last year’s 502,033 (50.6%).
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “This vital campaign is off to a terrific start and we’re immensely proud of the efforts being made by staff to keep colleagues healthy and protect vulnerable patients from the flu.
“The flu fighter campaign couldn’t do this fantastic work without the support of local NHS staff who are really knocking flu out of the park this winter,” he added.