‘More important than ever’: dental teams urged to get flu jab in face of COVID-19

Top healthcare clinicians are calling on all NHS workers to get their annual flu jab as soon as possibleTop healthcare clinicians are calling on all NHS frontline workers – including dentists – to get their annual flu jab as soon as possible.

With the added risk of COVID-19, they warn that it is more important than ever that staff are vaccinated in preparation for the coming months.

This comes alongside an expanded flu vaccination scheme aimed at both frontline health and social care workers. Around 30 million people are eligible for the free vaccine.

This week, the first batches are being delivered to NHS organisations across England where drop-in clinics will aim to vaccinate all eligible staff.

Reduced absences

And pharmacists can administer the jab to residential care staff in the workplace to speed up the programme.

Research shows that a 10% increase in the vaccination of NHS staff reduces sickness absence by around 10%.

Last year, 74.3% of doctors, nurses, midwives, therapists and all NHS staff who have direct contact with patients took up the vaccine through their employer.

Ruth May, the chief nursing officer for England, penned an open letter to more than one million NHS staff. It urges them to protect themselves and their vulnerable patients via the programme.

Co-signed by the NHS national medical director and other leading clinicians, it highlighted the extraordinary circumstances – pointing to the continued transmission of COVID-19 in England.

More important than ever

Professor Yvonne Doyle is medical director at Public Health England. She said: ‘If you’re a frontline health or care professional, getting your flu jab is the most effective way to protect yourself and those you care for from what can be a serious and even fatal illness.

‘This year, it is more important than ever to get your flu jab with COVID-19 still in circulation. Flu can require hospitalisation. This would add pressure on the NHS and social care when they may also be dealing with cases of COVID-19.

‘Getting your flu jab is easy and takes just a few minutes, but it could save someone’s life.’

It has since been revealed that although receiving the letter, NHS dentists are excluded from the free flu vaccine scheme. 

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