Health chiefs leading the fight against flu

INJECTION: Occupational health advisor Robert Drysdale gives chief executive Alan Foster his immunisation.
INJECTION: Occupational health advisor Robert Drysdale gives chief executive Alan Foster his immunisation.

HEALTH chiefs are leading the way by setting an example in the fight against seasonal flu.

A campaign has been launched at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to get as many staff as possible vaccinated against seasonal flu this winter.

The drive to increase the number of staff having the annual flu jab began at the beginning of this month. Early intervention is important to produce the maximum effects.

In less than a week, more than 300 staff had already been vaccinated, thanks to the drive and determination of hard-working teams within the trust.

Leading the way was the occupational health and wellbeing team, together with ward vaccinators.

They have been providing convenient clinics and visits to wards to offer the vaccination to all of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust staff and volunteers.

Head of occupational health and wellbeing Jude Cooper is leading the campaign which not only vaccinates staff. It also helps to spread the word and dispel any myths.

Jude said: “We’re encouraging staff to protect themselves, their family and their patients against flu by having the vaccination.

“People can often make the mistake of thinking they are fit and healthy so flu will not affect them, but just a few years ago the flu outbreak claimed more than 600 lives in the UK, with more than 70 per cent of the deaths among 15 to 64 year olds.

“It is very important for staff to get the vaccination to minimise the risks of developing the flu when they are exposed to patients who have flu themselves and to prevent themselves carrying the flu virus to others including their friends, family, other patients and relatives.”

Jude added: “We have been dispelling any myths about the vaccination too. The seasonal flu vaccine does not carry any live virus, which means the vaccine cannot give you the flu.”

To lead the way, the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Alan Foster as well as the Trust’s executive directors have had their vaccination to encourage staff to get their vaccination as soon as possible.

Jude said: “It takes a couple of weeks after getting the vaccination to get immunity, so we are encouraging staff to get it early.

“Flu can be serious and even fatal, even for normally fit and well people, so that is why the campaign is so important to protect ourselves and our patients.”