Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has already exceeded its target of giving the flu jab to 70 per cent of its frontline healthcare workers, just a few weeks into the campaign.
Since the campaign was launched at the beginning of October, 3,680 members of healthcare staff from across Swindon have had the seasonal vaccine, which experts cite as being the most effective form of defence against the common winter virus.
More than 72 per cent of frontline staff have now been vaccinated, which not only exceeds the all-important target but makes 2017 the Trust’s most successful flu campaign to date.
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 staff 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.
With flu cases in Australia 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.
The free flu jab will continue to be available to all Trust staff until the campaign comes to an end in March 2018.
To find out more about flu, and where to get the flu jab, visit www.nhs.uk.