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One in five Vic medics snubbed flu jab last year - during worst flu season in a decade

Medical director Dr Mark O'Donnell
Medical director Dr Mark O'Donnell
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One in five frontline NHS workers at Blackpool Victoria Hospital were not vaccinated against the flu last winter, during the worst flu season in a decade and despite a high-profile campaign by chiefs.

Medical director Prof Mark O’Donnell voiced his hope the uptake on jabs will be improved this year, amid warnings medics who refuse them could be stopped from treating patients most at risk of contracting the illness.

He said: “ The trust places great emphasis on flu vaccinations and we have seen an increase in front line staff being vaccinated over the past few years. We will continue to stress the need for staff to have the vaccination to protect themselves, their patients and their families and we aim to improve our flu uptake rates even further this year.

“As in previous years, we will be launching a strong campaign to encourage our staff to attend one of our many flu vaccination clinics.”

Of the 4,909 doctors, nurses, clinical staff and support workers at the trust with direct patient contact, 3,981 did get the vaccine - an uptake rate of 81 per cent. That’s significantly above the England average of 69, but still below a target of 90.

The NHS said making vaccination “near universal” is to protect patients on higher-risk wards like neonatal intensive care and cancer wards.

Up to half of people with the flu may not even know they have it, but for patients with weakened immune systems or respiratory problems, it can be life-threatening.

The NHS said that trusts should “take appropriate steps to maintain the safety of the service”, including transferring unvaccinated workers away from high-risk patients.