At the start of October DHU Health Care launched its ‘Flu Fighters On The Move’ campaign in a bid to encourage staff to be vaccinated and raise money for local charities.
Last winter, the number of people admitted to hospital with the Flu virus were amongst the highest ever, averaging around 4,500 admissions per week in the UK and Public Health England estimates that approximately 8,000 people die from Flu in England.
With aim of vaccinating 75% of the workforce, the Flu Planning Team have been driving their dedicated “Flu Bug” car between the companies sites in a bid to make the vaccination as accessible as possible.
Neil Jones, the Head of Clinical Transformation and Infection Prevention & Control lead, said: “There is increasingly good evidence to show that vulnerable patients have less mortality, morbidity and hospitalisation when health care staff are vaccinated against Flu.
“Year on year extensive research is undertaken in order to ensure vaccines are effective against the multiple strains of Flu which have developed. The vaccine, together with good infection control practice, is crucial in order to help protect healthcare workers and vulnerable patients, while keeping our clinical services running as normal.”
Since the campaign began around 30% of the workforce has had the flu vaccination. For each employee having the vaccination the DHU has offered to donate £10 to a selected charity of their choosing. Four local charities were chosen each for the Leicester, Loughbrough and Rutland area (LLR) and Derbyshire. For LLR the charities are LAMP (Leicestershire Actions for Mental Health Protection), Wishes 4 Kids, Together Against Cancer and SHARP (Shelter Housing Aid and Research Project) whilst for Derbyshire they are Ashgate Hospice Care, Treetops Hospice Care, Blythe House Hospice and Pathways of Chesterfield.
A tale of two jabs
Last year Cara Wallage, Rota Services Manager, was offered the jab and decided to take take it. She said: “I found the jab to be painless but had some minor irritation at the site of injection which I was warned about prior to administration. Other than the slight irritation I had no other side-effects from the vaccination. I would recommend having the flu jab and fully intend to have my flu jab again this year.”
Dr Emma Cunnliffe, GP on the other hand was not so lucky and picked up the flu virus during the winter period of 2017 after not receiving a jab. She started to display symptoms which included fever, aching, headaches, sore throat, coughing and exhaustion.
Common Misconceptions about the Flu jab
- Can a flu vaccine give you the flu?
No Flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ (killed) and that therefore are not infectious, or b) using only a single gene from a flu virus.
- Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
No. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalisation or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults.
- Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?
Yes. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season. The reason for this is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the “optimal” or best protection against the flu.
- What about serious reactions to flu vaccine?
Serious allergic reactions to flu vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. While these reactions can be life-threatening, effective treatments are available.
- Why do some people not feel well after getting the seasonal flu vaccine?
Some people report having mild reactions to flu vaccination. The most common side effects from flu shots are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.
Pictured in featured image: Kerry Collins, Abi Watson, Neil Jones, Heidi Stevens, Alexandra Reece Sumner, Daniel Graham, Kimberley Davis, Luke Mosley, Jessica Worthington, Michael Dryden, Sonia Gale