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21 November 2014
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More than 340,000 frontline healthcare workers had a flu vaccination in September and October this year according to figures published by Public Health England (PHE).
Figures reveal that 36.8% of the coalface workforce had the vaccination this winter, compared to 35% of workers over the same period last year.
Experts see this as a positive start to the vaccination programme for healthcare workers in England, but warn that more staff need to take up the vaccine.
Professor Nick Phin, PHE flu expert said: “Last year’s flu season was less severe than some we have seen but flu is an unpredictable virus and it is impossible to predict the impact that the disease will have on our communities and health services this winter, as new strains can circulate each year with varying impact.”
The vaccination of healthcare workers plays a key role in preventing the spread of the virus.
Professor Keith Willet, national clinical director for acute care at NHS England, said: “As professionals it is part of our duty of care to patients or residents to do everything in our power to protect them against infection, including being immunised against flu.
“We are approaching our busiest season in the health service, when flu outbreaks become a greater risk to our patients and the way we deliver care. The impact of the virus on frail and vulnerable patients can be serious, even fatal.
“It is vital that we take steps to protect those we care for, including our colleagues, family and friends by getting vaccinated against flu.”