Social care staff are being urged to have their Covid and flu vaccinations if they haven’t already. Nationally the hospitalisation rate for flu patients has been increasing, with over 5000 people in hospital with flu across the UK in recent weeks.
During winter, viruses circulate more easily, and people are increasingly exposed to the dangers of flu and Covid-19. Both can be life-threatening and getting both at the same time increases the risk of serious illness and, in rare cases, hospitalisation or even death.
If you’re a health or social care worker, or an unpaid carer or personal assistant to a friend or relative, you’re particularly at risk from catching flu and Covid-19 and passing them on to the people you care for. Making sure you’re up to date with your vaccinations can give you peace of mind that you’re doing all you can to keep them, as well as your family, friends and colleagues, safe.
One Devon Integrated Care Partnership has produced four short films featuring care workers explaining their decision to have the vaccination.
Support worker Vicky said, “I did get the vaccination. It’s a simple process; I didn’t have any side effects and it does prevent the spread of covid and flu.”
Social worker Cameron said, “The reason why I got my jabs was because I’ve got two grandparents that are very old and I also work with a lot of vulnerable clients, so it made sense for me to get it to protect them but also myself. Since the flu jab and the Covid jab it’s rare that we do have people off with sickness.”
The flu and Covid-19 vaccines are the best defence against these viruses. Even if you’re healthy, you can still catch and spread them to other people.
The flu viruses can change from one winter to the next so the flu vaccine is needed every year. Also, protection from flu vaccination goes down with time so even if some of the strains are the same you should have a flu vaccine again each flu season.
Similarly, Covid immunity fades, which is why frontline staff are being invited to top up their immunity again. The booster dose gives protection from multiple types of Covid-19. This means your booster dose may be different from the vaccine you had for your first 2 doses.
Covid-19 and flu vaccinations are free on the NHS and you are urged to get them as soon as possible. If you missed any previous doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, don’t worry, you can still get them from a vaccination centre near you.
As well as health and social care workers and carers, people aged 50 and over, those at higher risk or who are pregnant, and those who have or live with someone with a weakened immune system can book their flu and Covid-19 vaccinations now.
How to book your flu vaccination
Visit the Flu Booking Service to book an appointment at a community pharmacy. You can also get a flu vaccination through your GP practice.
Frontline health and social care workers should get their flu vaccine through their employer. However, certain health and social care providers do not have access to occupational health schemes and cannot provide the flu vaccine to their employees.
If your employer doesn’t offer it, you can still get your flu vaccine for free on the NHS.
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