Flu spreads from person-to-person, even amongst those not showing any symptoms so people who use and work in adult social care services are encouraged to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of spreading flu this winter.
An NHS survey (2019) found that patients and those receiving care feel safer and are more likely to get vaccinated when they know staff are vaccinated.
Flu can cause severe complications, but this FREE vaccination available on the NHS is the best protection. Whilst the threat may be invisible, the protection against it is clear.
This page shares information about who’s eligible, how to access a free flu jab and links to practical resources to help you to remind and encourage people to get the vaccination before flu season starts.
The Department of Health and Social Care states that frontline health and social care workers should be provided with flu jabs by their employer. This should complement any existing occupational health and/or wellbeing schemes.
You can make arrangements to have flu jabs carried out in the workplace, arranged through a private healthcare provider or you can purchase vouchers for your staff to get the vaccine from a GP or use at participating pharmacies.
Social care uptake is historically low and leaders at an organisational level have a strong impact on vaccine uptake; if managers promote vaccination and are seen by staff to have it themselves, this is a driver for others to do the same.
Tips to raise awareness with staff
- Put a poster up in your staffroom.
- Encourage staff to wear a sticker when they’ve had a flu jab, to raise awareness.
- Highlight the importance of having a flu jab in team meetings, supervisions and other opportunities.
- Nominate a champion who supports the campaign and reminds colleagues in the workplace.
- Post about the flu jab on social media.
- Include an article about the flu jab in your staff newsletter.
You can download free promotional material to support these activities / create localised awareness campaigns from Public Health England to promote the freeflu jab with staff in your service.
You can view a list of best practice and useful tips.
Who should get the flu jab
The vaccination is routinely given on the NHS to people in risk groups such as:
- adults aged 65 and over
- people with certain medical conditions, such as those with chronic long-term respiratory disease, liver disease, neurological disease, a learning disability or a weakened immune system
- people who have a learning disability and/or autistic people
- people living in long-term residential care
- frontline health and social care workers including personal assistants (PAs) who support people at risk e.g. staff in nursing and residential homes
You can read more about who’s eligible for a free flu jab and the process for PAs to access it in the 'Flu vaccination for PAs' section on the Information Hub.
NICE have developed a quality standard to help increase the uptake of the flu jab among people who are eligible. Access the standard.
Tips to raise awareness with people who use your service and families
- Talk to the people you support and their families about getting the free flu jab – this could be as a part of a care plan review or one-to-one conversations
- Put a poster up on your workplace noticeboard.
- Include information about the flu jab in your newsletter.
- Consider how you can support the people who use your service to access a flu jab, if needed.
You can download free promotional material from Public Health England to promote the free flu jab to the people you support and their families.
With COVID-19 in circulation it’s especially important to get the flu jab this year. The vaccine won’t protect you against coronavirus, but it will help stop you spreading flu to the people you support, many of whom are vulnerable to both.
Flu can be more severe for certain people, such as anyone aged 65 or over and people with an underlying health condition. People in these risk groups are more likely to develop serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia.
The UK Government estimates that an average of 11,000 people die from the virus in the UK each year therefore it’s important for people in these groups to get vaccinated to help protect themselves.
Having the vaccine protects you, your family and the people you care for from flu. Vaccination means less staff sickness from flu, helping the NHS and social care to keep running effectively during a flu outbreak when services are particularly busy.
You can give flu to your family and those you care for even if you don’t have any symptoms. Staff who aren’t vaccinated may unknowingly pass on flu to those who are at increased risk from the virus.
Those you support feel safer and are more likely to get vaccinated when they know the people who care for them are.