More NHS staff than ever before are being vaccinated against flu, according to official figures released today.
They show that 594,700 (61.8 per cent) frontline NHS staff across England were vaccinated against flu between 1 September and 31 December last year. The total will continue to climb in January and February.
Flu is a serious concern for the NHS and our patients, especially during winter, so the rise in staff vaccinations is an important step towards keeping employees and patients safe. It has increased from 359,080 (34.7 per cent) in the winter of 2010/11, just before the national flu fighter campaign was launched by NHS Employers.
NHS Employers has run flu fighter annually since autumn 2011. It provides materials and support to NHS trusts across England and Wales, helping them to run dozens of lively local campaigns.
This winter flu fighter also ran its first #jabathon event (5-10 December 2016), which helped to sustain vaccination rates when they usually dip in December. In total 61,311 (6.2 per cent) of staff were vaccinated in December compared to 28,475 (3.5 per cent) a year ago.
Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, 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.
“We continue to be on track for our eventual goal of making frontline staff vaccinations as universal as washing our hands.”
The figures were published today by Public Health England and are available here.
More information about flu fighter is available at www.nhsemployers.org/flu and by following @NHSflufighter and #flufighter on Twitter.
- Past figures can be viewed here. Public Health England will publish monthly updates of flu vaccination rates.
- The highest level achieved by the end of February in previous winters was 541,757 (54.9 per cent) in the winter of 2014/15.
- 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.