Free flu vaccinations for social care workers
Seasonal flu is highly infectious, particularly in the social care work environment. As a social care worker you are often at increased risk of flu because of your working role.
On the 10 September 2018, NHS England and Public Health England announced the continued extension for a second year of the national flu programme to include social care workers.
Arrangements have been put in place by NHS England for eligible social care and hospice staff to be offered free flu vaccination by their GP practice or any pharmacy. If you're working in the Wakefield district providing direct personal care to Wakefield residents, you could be entitled to a free flu jab.
Eligible social care workers are:
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. Vulnerable means those patients/clients in a clinical risk group for flu or who are aged 65 years and over.
Health and care staff, employed by a voluntary managed hospice provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza. Vulnerable means those patients/clients in a clinical risk group for flu or who are aged 65 years and over.
Although flu activity is not usually significant in the UK before the middle of November, the flu season can start early therefore the ideal time for immunisation is between September and early November.
The flu jab gives the body the information it needs to fight the flu, which stops you from contracting and spreading the virus. For those who work in care settings, getting the flu jab is an essential part of your work. In vaccinating yourself your protecting the people you care for, and helping to ensure that you are able to provide the safest environment and effective care for patients.
Frequently asked questions
Can the flu injection give you flu?
No. The flu vaccine virus is ‘inactivated’ so you can’t get flu from the vaccination.
Is it better to get the flu rather than have the vaccination?
No. Flu can be a serious illness with serious complications, resulting in hospitalisation or death.
Do I need the flu vaccination every year?
Yes. The reason for this is immunity declines over time and the strain in the vaccination may change from one year to the next.
Why do some people not feel well after getting the seasonal flu vaccine?
Some people report having mild reactions to the flu vaccine. These include soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site. This may last for up to 48 hours. Other reactions are usually mild and include a low grade temperature and aches. The most common reactions people have to the flu vaccine are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by the actual flu illness.
Are there any serious reactions to the flu vaccine?
Serious allergic reactions are very rare and usually occur within a few minutes to a few hours following vaccination. Whilst these can be life threatening, effective treatments are available.
Can you still get the flu despite having the vaccination?
You may have been exposed to flu viruses prior to, or in the two week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immunity. Some people also develop flu like symptoms as they may have been exposed to a flu virus that is a different strain to those in the vaccination. There are many different flu viruses that spread and cause illness.
I’ve had flu, should I still have the vaccination?
Yes. Flu in caused by several viruses and the immunity that you develop will only protect you against one of them.
Should I wait to get vaccinated so that my protection lasts to the end of the season?
No. It’s best to get vaccinated as soon as possible before the viruses start spreading in the community.
I’m pregnant. Can I still have the vaccination?
Yes, in fact pregnant woman are in the ‘at risk’ clinical groups.
Does the flu vaccination prevent the common cold?
No. The influenza vaccination doesn’t offer any protection against common colds.