Free flu jabs will be available to eligible health and social care staff after NHS England agreed to an extension of NHS seasonal influenza vaccination that includes social care workers.
The jabs will be available for health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza, meaning those patients/clients in a clinical risk group or aged 65 years and over.
Eligible staff will need to take identification with them to their GP surgery or pharmacy to confirm their eligibility under this scheme. Appropriate identification includes their name and the name of their employing organisation or could be an ID badge or a letter from their employer or a recent pay slip.
This scheme is intended to complement, not replace, the occupational health schemes already put in place by employers to support flu vaccination in 2017-18. Employers are being asked to continue their efforts to protect their staff and most vulnerable patients/clients by encouraging frontline social care staff to be immunised.
They can do this by accessing local schemes that are already in place or, if they are eligible by being in one of threat risk groups or other groups identified in the annual flu letter, by going to their GP or pharmacy.
Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen said: “I would urge care staff to get vaccinated so they can protect the people they care for, themselves and their own families and communities.
“This welcome extension of NHS seasonal influenza vaccination is an important preventative measure because flu is a serious illness in vulnerable people, potentially causing deaths and complications such as pneumonia.
“To support this extension we have produced a guide for employers and workers so they can make the best choices for them.”
Skills for Care’s guide for employers and workers can be downloaded free of charge at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/flu