Health workers are being encouraged to take up their seasonal vaccinations as part of Hull Hospitals’ preparations for winter.
Starting this week, thousands of staff working for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust including nurses, doctors and other frontline health workers are being offered free flu and Covid-19 vaccinations.
The vaccination programme is being rolled out to staff through two specially established vaccination hubs at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham. To make the jabs more accessible, a number of clinical staff across various wards and departments have been trained to vaccinate their colleagues, and members of the vaccination team will also offer a roving service for staff finding it difficult to be released from clinical duties.
Fewer than three days into this season’s vaccination campaign roll-out, and almost 1,000 healthcare workers have already booked in for the jabs. It’s all part of the Trust’s efforts to protect staff and patients from the worst the winter has to offer, as Jo Ledger, Acting Chief Nurse at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust explains:
“Winter always poses significant challenges for the NHS and so our preparations begin far in advance. One of the ways in which we look to protect both our staff and our patients from serious illness is by offering the Covid-19 and flu vaccinations free to our staff. As well as helping to protect health workers from the viruses, vaccination will extend some of that protection to their loved ones at home and to the patients in our care, many of whom already have ongoing health conditions or weakened immune systems.
“For most healthy people, the effects of flu or Covid-19 will last a few days or a week at most, but in people who are already ill or clinically vulnerable, catching one of the viruses could be really serious or potentially even fatal.
“The protection offered by the vaccines is not just personal either, as a better protected workforce means more reliability and resilience within our services, and that means everything from outpatient clinics and diagnostic tests to those working behind the scenes in the laboratories, catering and estates teams for example.”
The new strain of Covid-19 has caused enough concern this year for the winter vaccination programme to have been brought forward by NHS England. While the virus itself poses less of a risk to otherwise healthy people, there is still significant concern among health experts about the new BA.2.86 variant and the potential risk to people who are already vulnerable, living with ongoing health conditions or who are immunosuppressed.
Vaccinations for the public
Eligibility for free flu and Covid-19 vaccinations is determined by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation each year, and typically includes the over 65s, carers and those in clinical ‘at risk’ groups.
Those who are eligible will be informed when it is their turn with an invitation to be vaccinated, and should therefore wait to be contacted.
More details are available on the NHS England website.