Winter pressures: Lib Dems urge take up of winter flu jab

Local Lib Dems are urging people to get the flu vaccine to help avert “a winter crisis” in the nation’s hospitals.

Especially important are elderly people and young children at risk of flu – and those caring for older or vulnerable people

[YOUR NAME] said: “I would urge everyone to get flu jabs, but it is especially important that we reduce the risk of outbreaks in care homes and a subsequent surge in hospital admissions.

This follows warnings that this winter could see a high number of flu cases across the country.

Local Lib Dems are calling on care home companies to make sure staff know that they are eligible for a free jab, and is reminding informal, unpaid carers that they too qualify and should take steps to protect themselves.

Care home residents and their families are also encouraged to ask staff whether they have had the jab to raise awareness of the need to immunise.

Vaccinating care workers has been shown to significantly lower rates of flu, hospitalisation and mortality in the elderly.

Flu immunisation of care staff can help to reduce the transmission of infection to other workers, and vulnerable patients, who may have reduced immunity thereby increasing their risks of flu, and who may not respond well to immunisation.

A fit and able workforce is also crucial in responding to winter pressures and making sure care and health services continue operating.

In non-NHS organisations, employers have a duty of care towards staff and are responsible for the provision of occupational flu immunisation.

[YOUR NAME] said: “Winter is a time when health and care services come under enormous strain and there are real concerns that this year could be especially challenging, with warnings of a severe flu outbreak following the winter pressures we have seen in Australia and New Zealand.

“Care providers can help to mitigate this by offering the flu jab and reminding staff they are eligible for a free vaccine. We also encourage carers to take the opportunity.

“Elderly people in care are particularly vulnerable to flu, and in some cases, it can be deadly.

“A failure to take simple infection control measures could lead to a nasty flu outbreak, and create a winter catastrophe in our hospitals.

“The flu vaccine is the single most effective way of protecting against flu and spreading it to others.”

ENDS

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