Flu vaccine campaign for Derriford Hospital staff
DERRIFORD hospital has launched a staff flu jab campaign to help prevent deaths from the virus.
The hospital aims to vaccinate as many frontline staff as possible to tackle the spread of influenza and protect patients.
Flu claims the lives of thousands a year in England – with younger age groups increasingly affected in recent years as swine flu has become a predominant strains.
Pensioners, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions are also being urged to get a jab from their GP.
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Derriford has joined the national Flu Fighter Campaign.
Senior members of Derriford Hospital staff, including chief executive Ann James, were the first to get their jabs at the start of a three-month programme of vaccination clinics.
Ms James said: "The NHS sees millions of patients every year whose age or poor health means flu could have a serious impact on their lives.
"This is why it's so important for staff to choose to get their vaccinations. If we reduce the chances of staff contracting flu, we can really drive down the possibility of passing it on to patients.
"The bottom line is that staff who are protected against flu can't pass it to their patients."
She said Derriford takes patient safety very seriously and will be working hard to encourage its nurses, doctors and other frontline staff to get vaccinated.
In 2010/11 flu directly caused 602 deaths in England. Around 8,000 die from flu-related illnesses in England and Wales each year.
Swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, which affects different age groups, has now become one of the predominant strains.
Last year 70 per cent of fatal influenza cases occurred among people aged between 15 and 64, where normally a higher number of deaths tend to be among older people.
Derriford's campaign is aimed at NHS staff but anyone in an 'at-risk' group in the public should speak to their GP about getting a free flu vaccination.
These include people of 65 years of age or older, pregnant women or main carers of elderly, disabled people and those with chronic health conditions.