Flu campaign off to a fighting start as 1,000 staff get protected in first week

Posted: October 11, 2017

Seasonal vaccine is best form of defence

More than 1,000 healthcare staff across Swindon have had the flu jab in the first seven days of it being made available. 

Since the campaign launch on Monday 2 October, 1,103 members of staff have had the seasonal vaccine, which experts cite as being the most effective form of defence against the common winter virus. 

It means around 20 per cent of staff working at both the Great Western Hospital and in other locations around Swindon are now protected.

The strong start also puts Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in with a good chance of meeting its target of giving the flu jab to 70 per cent of its front line healthcare workers by March 2018. 

And with cases in Australia already topping 100,000, experts back home believe the UK could experience a flu season just as severe, which is why it's never been more important for staff in the NHS to get protected. 

Dr Guy Rooney, Medical Director, was one of the first at the Trust to roll up his sleeve for the vaccine. 

He said: "Free flu jabs have been offered to all our teams for several years now, but this year looks like it'll be more important than ever to get vaccinated as early as possible.

"What's happening Down Under is a strong indication of what's likely to happen here in the coming months but, the great thing is that avoiding such an outbreak is within our control -  simply by having the flu jab.

"This one quick thing will help us to stay fighting fit for our patients during the busy winter we're all expecting." 

Much more than just a cough or a cold, flu has the potential to keep even the fittest person in bed for up to a week with symptoms ranging from aching muscles and a fever to severe fatigue and generally feeling weak. 

While it's usually more unpleasant than it is life-threatening, flu can prove particularly dangerous for more vulnerable people, such as pregnant women, the elderly and those with existing medical conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.

Teams at the hospital, as well as those in the community, have been making use of the numerous flu drop-in clinics happening across Swindon, while many have also received their jab from one of the Trust's peer vaccinators. 

These are members of staff who have been specially trained to give the jab to their colleagues, making it easier for those who find it difficult to leave their ward or department while on duty to get protected. 

Janet Peart, who works in the Delivery Suite at GWH, is part of the Trust's peer vaccinator army and gave the flu jab to more than 70 of her colleagues during the first week alone, placing her firmly at the top of the peer vaccinator leaderboard. 

The Trust is keen to build on the success of the 2016 flu season, when around 60 per cent of staff had the vaccine.

To find out more about flu, and where to get the flu jab, visit www.nhs.uk

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