NHS England will once again provide free flu vaccinations for social care staff including domiciliary care workers.
The vaccination is available to staff who provide direct care to people in clinical risk groups or who are over 65.
Care Workers, to prove that you are eligible for a free flu vaccination you will just need to provide evidence (i.e. your identity badge or uniform) when you visit your local pharmacy and you will be able to get the vaccine for free.
Flu is a serious illness for people in vulnerable circumstances. Getting the flu vaccine helps to protect those who get the vaccine, as well as their families and the people work with, care for and support.
For the majority of people who catch it flu is unpleasant, but for some it can lead to chest infections, severe complications and death. Globally, seasonal flu accounts for about three to five million causes of severe illness annually and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths.
The flu vaccine has an excellent safety record
The risk of having a serious reaction to the seasonal flu vaccine is less than one in a million. This is much lower than the risk of getting seriously ill from having the flu itself.
The flu jab can’t give you the flu
It is impossible to get flu from the having the flu jab because the vaccine doesn’t contain live viruses. A very small number of people experience side effects such as aching muscles, but this is simply the immune system responding to the vaccine.
The side effects of the flu vaccination aren’t bad
For the most part, seasonal flu vaccine side effects are mild or often non-existent. The most common side effect is soreness around the site of the injection and occasionally aching muscles. These symptoms are a lot less serious than having flu.
You need the vaccine every year
If you were vaccinated last year, you won’t be protected against the new strains of flu circulating which are generally best matched by the current seasonal vaccine.
Pregnant women can be vaccinated
Pregnant women can have the flu vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy. Having the vaccination when pregnant is beneficial and helps protect baby from flu over the first few months of life.
Healthy diets won’t prevent flu
Your diet could well be helping to boost your immune system, but eating well will not protect you from flu. The best way to protect yourself, family and patients against flu is by getting the flu jab.
Hand-washing is very important, but it won’t stop flu
It is vital to follow universal infection prevention procedures and wash your hands, but once flu has been passed on to your family, colleagues or your patients, clean hands won’t keep flu at bay. Book your flu jab as soon as possible, and encourage those around you to do the same.
Anyone can get the flu
One of the most common reasons for not getting vaccinated is “I’ve never had flu before”. There’s no such thing as natural immunity to influenza; with new strains circulating this year, it’s best to get vaccinated against flu.
NHS Choices Website: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu/Pages/Prevention.aspx