Information for health and social care workers

Questions and answers

Who needs the flu vaccination?

Health and social care staff directly involved in patient care are recommended to have the vaccine. Some of the jobs and areas covered include:

  • GP practices
  • pharmacies
  • hospitals
  • paediatric wards
  • cancer centres
  • intensive care units
  • dental surgeries
  • care homes.

Not only will you reduce your risk of getting flu, you will also reduce the risk of affecting any family members or friends who are vulnerable to its effects. You’ll also be keeping flu away from colleagues and patients who may be more vulnerable to the effects of the virus due to underlying medical conditions.

For example, recent evidence has shown that people with risk conditions who are in hospital with flu are 18 times more likely to die than healthy people. In certain groups the risks are even higher – people with liver problems are 80 times more likely to die and those with a compromised immune system are over 50 times more likely to die.

If you work with patients with health conditions you should ensure you are vaccinated to protect them. It’s also a good idea to remind patients with health conditions to get vaccinated too.

How does the flu vaccine work?

The vaccine takes around 10 days to work and will protect you against this year’s flu. You have to get vaccinated annually because the virus changes constantly and your immunity reduces over time.

Last year's vaccine won’t necessarily protect you from this year’s flu viruses. It’s important to remember that the flu vaccine can’t give you flu, but can stop you catching it.

For the maximum protection possible, make sure you get vaccinated every year.

It won’t make you infectious, so it’s safe to carry on with your normal duties once you’ve been vaccinated.

Where do I get the flu vaccination?

If you work in the NHS you can get a free vaccination from your employer. Just contact your occupational health service or your line manager for details. If you work in any of the other health or social care organisations, you should speak to your employer or occupational health department to find out whether the flu vaccine is available.

The flu vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself against this year’s flu viruses.

Remember, it’s very safe, only takes a few minutes and will last around a year.

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Last reviewed on 19 August 2014