NHS Employers has launched this year’s campaign, targeting NHS staff to ensure they get vaccinated for the winter ‘flu season.

Cutting the number of flu infections among frontline health and social care staff is paramount, as they have the greatest exposure to vulnerable people such as the elderly and the very young, and the best way to do so is to make sure these staff get vaccinated.

With that in mind, NHS Employers has launched the latest run of its successful flu fighter campaign, aiming to boost flu vaccination uptake among health and social care staff as much as possible.

Its annual #jabathon week will take place from 8-12 October, with activities aimed at encouraging conversations on the flu vaccination and inspiring even more staff to get their jabs.

Last year’s event was hugely successful, NHS Employers has said: in the 2017-2018 flu season, 68.7% of frontline healthcare workers across all trusts with direct patient contact were reported to have received the seasonal vaccine in England, up from 63.4% in the 2016-2017 season.

That means 85,000 more staff were vaccinated during last year’s flu season.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “Prevention is the best defence against a potential flu outbreak, and vaccination is our strongest tool in stemming the tide of infection. NHS Employers is once again running its flu fighter campaign, to increase vaccination levels among health and social care workers, and to help keep them and those around them healthy this winter.

“I’ve had my jab this year to protect myself and others, especially my family. Of course, everyone will have personal reasons for getting vaccinated. #jabathon encourages people to share their reasons via social media and nominate colleagues to do the same.”

The #jabathon week will see a host of social media activity, centred on #jabathon. To find out more and get involved, visit http://www.nhsemployers.org/flumatters and http://www.nhsemployers.org/jabathon
#jabathon activity includes:

  • Influential health professionals will be tweeting about why they’re getting their jab and encouraging health and social care workers to get theirs. This includes Dr Dawn Harper, of Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies; Dr Zoe Williams, of ITV’s This Morning; TV’s Dr Hilary Jones; Love Island’s Dr Alex; Chief Executive of NHS Employers Daniel Mortimer; and Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings
  • On Thursday 11 October, Associate Chief Nurse Craig Bradley, of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will be taking over the @NHSflufighter Twitter account. Filming opportunities are available on request from flu vaccination clinics at Gloucestershire hospitals
  • NHS Employers will release a film sharing the story of clinical nurse specialist Samantha Robinson, from Wales Fertility Institute at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, and her identical twin, Helen Watts. Helen and Sam both have asthma, and Helen became severely ill with flu after she didn’t get her flu jab, unlike her sister. The film will highlight the importance of getting the jab, particularly for health and social care professionals
  • A blog from NHS Employers Assistant Director of Development and Employment Ruth Warden, who has had a breast cancer diagnosis, written from a patient perspective urging staff to get their vaccine
  • Photos and tweets on Friday 12 October from a trust visit in Northern Ireland. The flu fighter team are working with trusts from Northern Ireland this year to help support them in increasing uptake and will be at the Western trust to work with them in #jabathon participation
  • A competition will also run throughout #jabathon. Healthcare professionals will be asked to share how many vaccines they have given, or how many of their staff have been vaccinated during the week. There will be a prize of flu fighter goodies and the winner will be chosen at random.