October 2nd marks the start of the national flu campaign. You may be aware of the surge in flu cases in New Zealand and Australia over the last few months and this would indicate that we are indeed heading into a heavy flu season.
Each year the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine contains protection against three common influenza virus strains. These strains are identified by the World Health Organization as those most likely to be around this winter. The flu virus changes each year – this is why a new influenza vaccine has to be given each year. If you are healthy and get the flu you may only have a mild illness but for those at high risk, including your patients it could be fatal. Elderly and at risk patients may not get sufficient protection from the vaccine themselves so they rely on the people around them to keep them safe. Flu vaccine is recommended for healthcare workers to protect you from getting flu and to reduce transmission of flu to your family and your patients.
Promotion of the uptake of the influenza vaccination among health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals, in the community and long term care facilities (LTCFs) during the 2017-2018 influenza season is foremost on our agenda. It’s one of the most effective measures for preventing widespread illness. To support this immunisation programme, each hospital in the South/South West Hospital Group has circulated and will continue to advertise the available vaccination clinics to ensure that all staff have access to the vaccination. We are aware that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the flu vaccine.
Facts about flu.
- Flu causes death and hospitalisation every year.
- Flu vaccine is the best protection against flu for at risk groups and health care workers.
- You need to get flu vaccine every season as the viruses change every year.
- Flu vaccine contains killed viruses – it cannot give you flu.
- Healthcare workers are up to 10 times more likely to get flu.
- Healthy people can have flu without any obvious symptoms and pass it on.
Further information is available on www.immunisation.ie