Flu season is here and anyone in South Gloucestershire who meets the criteria for a free flu jab is encouraged to make sure they take up the vaccine when it is offered to them.
This year, the NHS is additionally funding vaccinations for health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable people.
As part of their own occupational health offer, schools can also choose to fund privately-provided vaccinations for their staff.
One South Gloucestershire primary school, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Bradley Stoke, has been funding vaccinations for the last four years and in 2016 achieved uptake of over 60 per cent of their staff, using a pre-purchased voucher model.
The school’s Business Manager Dawn Lane said: “We’ve not had any of our staff off work with severe flu for several years which is great, as that means there’s less disruption to the children’s learning. Plus if staff can’t catch the flu, then they can’t pass it on to anyone else.”
For a second year, South Gloucestershire Council is funding the vaccine for many employees through an expenses claim scheme to protect the health and wellbeing of staff, and support our winter resilience arrangements.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health Cllr Erica Williams said: “We are encouraging everyone who is eligible to get their flu vaccination. This time of year is the best time to have the vaccine, it’s quick and easy, and is available from pharmacies or your GP surgery.
“Immunisation is the most effective defence we have against flu and getting protected is an important duty for any care worker.”
Getting protected with the flu vaccine is an important duty for any social, healthcare or education worker. The flu vaccine is the only defence against the flu, yet many people who work in these areas fail to get vaccinated and potentially put themselves and those they come in to contact with at risk of serious illness.
Others considered at risk, and therefore eligible for a free jab, includes those aged 65 and over, living with long-term conditions, pregnant women and children aged two and three years of age.
The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so reduces the risk of developing the illness significantly. All those considered at risk should have received a letter inviting them for a vaccination which can be received at your GP surgery or at some local pharmacies. People in at risk groups who haven’t been approached should contact their GP to arrange an appointment as soon as possible.
For more information visit www.southglos.gov.uk/flu