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Monday 26 June 2017

Fewer than one in four hospital staff got the flu jab last winter

The winter flu vaccine is provided free of charge to all healthcare facilities and occupational health departments
The winter flu vaccine is provided free of charge to all healthcare facilities and occupational health departments
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Fewer than one in four hospital staff got the flu vaccine last winter - despite being told it would protect patients and themselves from the spread of infection.

The take-up in nursing homes, where elderly residents are at particular risk, was only slightly higher, according to a survey.

Uptake was highest among doctors and dentists and it was lowest among nurses.

The HSE provides the winter flu vaccine free of charge to all healthcare facilities or to the occupational health departments.

Getting the flu vaccine is an important infection control and occupational health measure, said the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, which carried out the survey.

"For the 2015-2016 influenza season all healthcare workers should obtain influenza vaccination - unless not advised - to protect themselves, their patients, work colleagues and vulnerable family members from flu."

There were 40 deaths from flu officially reported last winter, although the real number was much higher. The deaths were particularly high among older people and were associated with the make-up of the flu vaccine, which did not provide full protection against the main strain which was circulating.

The average age of those who died was 81.

Irish Independent

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