FOR UK HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS ONLY

This section is intended for healthcare professionals and associated healthcare employees who are involved in patient care or service provision for influenza immunisation in the UK only – this includes (but is not limited to) GPs, nurses, practice managers, pharmacists, and pharmacy counter assistants.

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE

Risks from flu if you are a healthcare worker or social care staff

Because flu is contagious, an outbreak can occur in places such as hospitals and residential homes1. This puts patients, residents, staff and visitors at risk of infection1.

If you are a frontline healthcare or social care worker, it’s important to help protect yourself from flu so that you can continue to care for others, but you also need to help protect the people you come into direct daily contact with.

This is because you risk passing on the flu virus to them, which could be dangerous if they have health conditions that could put them at risk of developing serious complications from the flu2. Particularly if you work with people who come into the following high-risk groups:

These complications from flu could include pneumonia2, a higher risk of hospitalisation or even death,3 or it could make their existing health condition worse3.

 

Protecting yourself and the people you care for from flu

The flu viruses predominantly circulate during the winter. So you should think about how to help protect yourself and the people you care for as the flu season approaches.

Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu4. Prevention is particularly important for healthcare workers, as you can contract and pass on the virus days before you experience any symptoms or take any time off sick5.

Vaccination can also help to prevent the spread of flu in residential homes6, and can help to keep the NHS running effectively during a flu outbreak, when GPs and hospitals may be particularly busy6.

It is your employer’s responsibility to arrange and cover the costs of a flu vaccination for you7:

  • If you are a front-line NHS worker with direct patient contact, the NHS will pay for your vaccination
  • If you are a front-line social care worker, your employer – whether it is your local authority or a private company – should pay for your vaccination

Get vaccinated as soon as possible, ideally before the end of November, to ensure you’re protected right through the winter8.

You can get your free NHS flu vaccination* at your GP surgery, occupational health department, or in a pharmacy, while most pharmacies in the UK also offer private jabs.

*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.

 

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim Guidance for Influenza Outbreak Management in Long-Term Care Facilities. March 2017. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/ltc-facility-guidance.htm (accessed July 2018)
  2. NHS Choices. The Flu Vaccine. July 2016. Available online: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/ (accessed July 2018)
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications. August 2018. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm (accessed September 2018)
  4. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet, November 2016. Available online: http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal) (accessed July 2018)
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Flu Spreads. August 2018. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm (accessed September 2018)
  6. NHS Choices. Flu Vaccine FAQs. July 2016. Available online: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/flu-vaccine-questions-answers.aspx (accessed July 2018)
  7. NHS Choices. Who should have the flu vaccine. July 2016. Available online: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/who-should-have-flu-vaccine.aspx (accessed July 2018)
  8. Public Health England. National flu immunisation programme plan for 2018 to 2019. March 2018. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan (accessed July 2018)

Adverse Event Reporting

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE