Flu jabs for frontline staff

Ambulance service encourages the public to follow suit.

A national campaign to get more frontline staff in the NHS to have a flu jab is being supported by the North East Ambulance Service.

More than 600 deaths in the UK were directly caused by flu and many more were related to it during the last flu season.

This year's vaccine is being offered to all NEAS staff, at sites across the North East - and members of the public who believe they may be funerable are being encouraged to follow suit.

NEAS spokeswoman Margaret Wilkinson said: "Understandably, It's really important that people working for the ambulance service get vaccinated, as we are doing a job where we come into regular contact with patients.

"It's something our staff are very aware of, and I would encourage any member of the public to get the jab."

For some vulnerable groups, such as the fatal or those with underlying health problems, flu can be fatal.

Dean Royles, Director of NHS Employers, said: "This campaign will drive up vaccination rates by explaining that it is safe, showing how important it is and helping local organisations to deliver jabs quickly and conveniently.

"We want staff vaccinations to eventually become as commonplace in the NHS as washing your hands. In some health trusts over 90 per cent of front-line staff are vaccinated, which is fantastic.

"Organisations throughout England are strongly backing this campaign and we believe staff will come out equally strongly in support, especially given the excellent help and backing being provided by their unions.

"This year's vaccine is the best possible formula to protect people against seasonal flu and H1N1."

Department of Health figures released on 6 September showed that Between 12 September 2010 and 4 May 2011 a total of 602 confirmed fatal flu cases from across the UK were reported to the Health Protection Agency, while wider flu-related deaths are estimated to be far higher.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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