Health and social care organisations across Oxfordshire have joined together to call on healthcare professionals to make sure they are immunised against flu this winter.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire County Council, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have all embarked on their annual flu programmes – vaccinating the thousands of workers who look after you, your family and friends.

By vaccinating front line staff, each organisation can stop people from catching the virus and passing it on to the sick and vulnerable. It also means health and social care organisations can be more resilient during the coming busy winter months.

Healthcare workers in hospitals and out in the community are eligible for free quadrivalent jabs – which contain four strains of flu to provide maximum cover.

Oxford Health provides physical, mental health and social care for people of all ages across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset and aims to vaccinate more than 5,000 of its frontline workforce.

For a second year staff and patients at Oxford Health have collaborated to produce a video encouraging every staff member to take part in the immunisation programme.

The Grease-themed ‘It’s the jab that I want’ film stars, among others, Chief Nurse Marie Crofts, above, who is leading the Oxford Health campaign and staff from Witney Community Hospital.

There are also appearances from many other workers from the Trust’s 150 sites and cameo appearances from SCAS staff, who have bases in community hospitals. Watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGgqC3BEMhc

SCAS, the ambulance service for Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire, and Oxfordshire County Council – with its army of social workers in communities and hospitals – are also working to increase vaccination rates.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is also vaccinating their frontline staff to protect patients and their families.

With an array of posters and myth busting messages, all partner organisations are holding staff flu clinics and are working hard to help staff understand the importance of getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their patients.

  • Flu is a serious health risk – it’s highly transmissible and is not a bad cold
  • The quadrivalent jab does not contain a live virus and will not give you flu.
  • You can be a carrier of flu without displaying symptoms.

Last year, flu killed 312 Britons*, while a total of 2,924 people in the UK were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) or high-dependency unit (HDU) because of flu. Most had not been immunised according to Public Health England.

Marie Crofts, Chief Nurse at Oxford Health, said: “With fresh arrivals of the vaccine we have started our special clinics and drop-in sessions for frontline staff. We work in a caring profession, so let’s all make sure we have a jab – and look after each other as well as our patients, friends and family.”

Karen Fuller, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is a priority. By encouraging frontline staff to have flu vaccinations we can ensure they are immunised as part of our winter preparation. This will support the health and social care system and also reduce the risk of passing the virus onto the people we support, which is essential. The council’s commitment to working with system partners as part of this campaign protects our staff and supports them to stay well throughout the winter months.”

Professor Helen Young, Executive Director of Patient Care and Service Transformation at SCAS, said: “Every year, SCAS focuses significant time and resources making it as easy as possible for staff to get their flu jabs.

“Our emergency 999 and patient transport service staff interact with some very unwell patients and those with serious medical conditions, so the vaccine is crucial to protect such patients from the life-threatening complications flu can bring, and minimise the risk of staff unwittingly passing on the flu bug to them.

“By having their flu jab, our staff are demonstrating their commitment to ensure our 999, NHS 111 and patient transport service can be operated as efficiently and effectively as possible during the peak period of winter demand.”

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “By vaccinating frontline staff, each organisation can stop people from catching the virus from patients and passing it onto the other patients or their own family members.

“It also means health and social care organisations can be more resilient in terms of reducing the risk of staff being absent due to being off sick with the flu during the coming busy winter months.”

*Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/839350/Surveillance_of_influenza_and_other_respiratory_viruses_in_the_UK_2018_to_2019-FINAL.pdf