Tracey has backed steps taken by the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, to encourage more frontline NHS staff to take the seasonal flu vaccine.
Recent data released by the Health Protection Agency shows that just 34.7% of frontline staff were vaccinated against the seasonal flu virus over the 2010/11 period. The data also shows huge disparity in the immunisation rates of healthcare workers in PCTs and NHS Trusts throughout the country, for example, the highest uptake rates were almost 95% in the Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, yet the lowest rate of immunisation was just 5.2%.
By vaccinating frontline doctors and nurses, it is possible to protect staff and prevent them from transmitting the flu virus to colleagues and vulnerable patients. Research has shown that immunisation of healthcare workers lowers rates of influenza-like illness, hospitalisation and mortality in vulnerable patients.
Tracey says “I would like to encourage all staff within the Medway PCT and Medway NHS Foundation Trust to take the seasonal flu vaccine. The immunisation process is easy, straightforward and serves to protect both patients and frontline staff from the winter flu bug.”