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Vaccination of health and social care workers against flu

A joint letter from the Department of Health, NHS England, and Public Health England urges staff to get vaccinated against flu this winter.

A joint letter from the Department of Health, NHS England, and Public Health England was sent to NHS and local authorities this week, urging staff to get vaccinated against flu this winter.

The letter outlines work to improve flu vaccination uptake rates among health and social care workers in order to protect their patients and clients, themselves and their colleagues from flu.

Hundreds of thousands may see their GP and tens of thousands may be hospitalised because of flu each winter.

However, flu vaccination for health and social workers currently ranges from 85% to as low as 8% in some trusts.

Earlier this month, the Secretary of State for Health announced that any NHS trust eligible for a share of £250 million A&E funding for next year will need to ensure that at least 75% of its own staff have been vaccinated against flu this year.

Trusts will not be eligible to receive a portion of the money in future years if they do not vaccinate 75% of their staff this year, except in exceptional circumstances where they can prove to the Trust Development Authority, Monitor and NHS England that they have robust plans in place to ensure they meet this ambitious target the following year.

Dr. Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection for Public Health England said:

Health care workers should do everything in their power to protect themselves against infection. By getting vaccinated against flu they not only protect themselves and their families, but they also help protect frail and vulnerable patients from the impact of flu.