Care UK has launched an internal Flu fighter campaign to encourage its 10,000-strong care home workforce to get their flu jabs to help protect more than 7,000 residents as well as their family, friends and the local community
Care UK’s intensive awareness-raising programme began in its 120 homes and in the Colchester support office last month. Posters, information on the intranet, special lanyards and messages to managers are being used to encourage as many people as possible to get themselves vaccinated. In addition team members are being invited to send in photos of themselves getting the jab which will be entered into a draw with prizes such as shopping vouchers and champagne to be won.
A key strand of the internal campaign is to dispel some of the myths that people might have heard about the flu injections. Common myths include the idea that healthy people have nothing to fear from flu, the vaccination causes side effects like colds or that you can’t be vaccinated it you are pregnant.
Jason Axford is one of Care UK’s most senior nurses. He said: “We are encouraging our colleagues to protect themselves, their families and residents in our homes by getting the flu vaccine.
“We hope by dispelling myths and making it easy for colleagues to get the vaccination the vast majority of people who work in or visit our homes will get themselves protected.”
The Care UK campaign has been launched to capture the optimum time to get a jab and it is hoped that residents and colleagues will be able to enjoy the festive season free of the virus.
The myths Care UK are hoping to bust are as follows:
Isn’t it too early to get the jab?
Flu circulates every winter and generally peaks in December and January. This means many people get ill around the same time so the earlier the better.
Do I need the flu jab if I’m in good health?
The flu jab is recommended for everyone. Studies show that up to one third of flu deaths are in healthy people.
Is flu really such a big deal?
Yes, flu can be deadly. Public Health England estimate that on average 8,000 people die from flu in England each year and some years that figure reaches 14,000
Are there are side effects of the flu jab?
Side effects are usually non-existent. The vaccine is well tested and has an excellent safety record. The vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses so it can’t cause flu. The most common side effect is mild soreness around the site of the injection.
Is the flu jab the best protection against flu?
It certainly is. It seems simple but many people don’t know that getting your flu jab every year is the best way to help protect yourself and those around you.
Can I have the flu vaccine if I am pregnant or breast feeding?
Pregnant women can have the flu vaccine at any stage of their pregnancy during the flu season. The vaccination helps protect women during pregnancy and their babies at birth. The vaccine poses no risk to a breastfeeding mother or her baby, or to pregnant women.
How often should you have the flu jab?
It is recommended that you have the flu jab every year or you won’t be protected against any new strains of flu that may circulate each year. The protection from the vaccine also declines over time.
Is there any risk of having a serious reaction to the flu jab?
The risk of having a serious reaction to the flu jab is less than one in a million.
Will eating well and washing your hands protect you from the flu?
Although hand washing and a healthy diet are both important strands of keeping the virus at bay, the vaccine is the single most effective protection against the flu.
I’ll be infectious after having my jab and must avoid other people
False. The vaccine can’t give you flu so you won’t be infectious. You can carry on as normal.
How long does the flu vaccine take to become effective?
It takes between 10 and 14 days for your immune system to respond fully after you’ve had the flu vaccine.
Studies show that up to 77% of people carrying the flu virus have no symptoms.