Record breaking NHS staff flu vaccinations, official figures show

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The highest proportion of NHS staff ever vaccinated against flu has been achieved, according to official figures published today. The statistics show that 55.6 per cent (533,389) of frontline NHS staff across England were vaccinated against flu between 1 September and 30 November this year.

NHS Employers, which runs the annual flu fighter campaign that promotes flu vaccinations to staff, says the figures are doubly remarkable because they already show record levels despite accounting for barely half the flu season. 

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said:

“We said last month that we were off to a good start and that we planned to beat the 50.6 per cent total at the end of last winter. It turns out that we exceeded expectations.

“We want to thank the amazing and creative staff throughout the NHS who volunteer their time to promote these lifesaving vaccines. This will help keep staff healthy this winter and reduce the risk to patients.

“We look forward to next month’s December figures, as these will reflect the efforts of our first national #Jabathon, when local campaigners encouraged staff to get vaccinations in December when they usually slow down a lot.

“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.”

Today’s figures were published by Public Health England and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake-in-healthcare-workers-1-september-2016-to-30-november-2016 

The previous highest proportion of frontline NHS staff flu vaccinations was achieved by the end of the 2014/15 winter flu season (1 September 2014 to 28 February 2015), when 54.9 per cent were vaccinated.

More information about flu fighter is available at www.nhsemployers.org/flu and by following @NHSflufighter and #flufighter on Twitter.

Additional Background:
  • Past figures can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-uptake#seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake-figures Public Health England will publish monthly updates of flu vaccination rates.
  • When flu fighter began, in Autumn 2011, the frontline NHS Staff flu vaccination rate had been 34.7 per cent the previous 2010/11 flu season.
  • Public Health England does not have recorded numbers of deaths from flu. However it says it is estimated that, in 2015/16, there were about 2,300 excess deaths which are extra deaths over the winter linked to the time of year. Flu and extreme cold weather are the two most likely causes of excess deaths.

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