News story

Health care worker flu vaccination figures published

Experts encourage health care workers to get vaccinated.

Healthcare worker assisting an older person.

New figures show 44.1% of frontline healthcare workers (HCWs) had received their influenza vaccination as of 30 November 30 2015.

Over 422,000 frontline healthcare workers out of the 957,096 frontline healthcare workers in England have now received their flu vaccination

This compares to 48.2% of workers who were vaccinated in the same period in 2014 to 2015.

Although flu is currently circulating at low levels, flu experts warn that more workers need to take up the vaccine to help protect themselves and vulnerable patients this winter and help save lives, while keeping NHS services running as normal.

Early virological surveillance from the UK and elsewhere in Europe shows the strain A(H1N1)pdm09 is now the main seasonal flu virus detected so far this season, and this is well-matched to the vaccine strain.

Previous flu seasons dominated by A(H1N1)pdm09 suggest this strain affects children, pregnant women, and adults with long term conditions like chronic heart disease, liver disease and respiratory disease in particular.

Hospital surveillance in 2014 to 2015 reported a total of 1,187 admissions to intensive care and high dependency units due to lab confirmed flu across England, and 8.4% of these resulted in death.

The annual campaign to drive up NHS staff vaccination rates is called flu fighter (@NHSflufighter, #flufighter). Run by NHS Employers and supported by the Department of Health and Public Health England (PHE), flu fighter is once again providing employers with all the resources they need to help their staff run lively local campaigns which promote vaccinations, answer questions and improve access to them.

Flu fighter is now in its fifth year and helped the NHS to increase frontline staff flu vaccinations from 359,080 (34.7%) in 2010 to 2011 to 541,757 (54.9%) by the end of last winter.

Dr. Richard Pebody, head of flu surveillance for PHE, said:

People with certain long-term health conditions are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu and sadly, many end up in hospital.

The latest figures reinforces the need for annual flu vaccination among key groups including health and social care workers to help protect both themselves, but also vulnerable patients that they might look after, who are at greater risk of the serious consequences of flu.

This together with good respiratory infection control measures are important in preventing the spread of flu which can cause illness and disruption in hospitals and care homes.

Published 17 December 2015