Staff at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals who administer flu vaccinations say there’s nothing to fear and everything to gain by having a jab.
Kerrie Chesters, Occupational Health Sister for the Trust, said people are often concerned that they might get flu from having a jab but this is medically impossible.
Kerrie explained: “We see a lot of people who have heard bad things about the flu jab but we can set people’s minds at rest.
“People often worry that they will get flu from the jab but this is impossible. It’s not a live vaccine – there are no live components within the vaccine.
“The worst thing people can experience is an aching arm. If people do have flu symptoms this could be due something other than the jab. They may already have picked up a virus.
“I think staff have a duty of care to protect patients within their care and should access the vaccination. You can carry the virus and not have any symptoms but then pass it on to patients, colleagues or family members.
“Being vaccinated means you can protect yourself, family, colleagues and patients who may be poorly or immuno-suppressed.
“For example, poorly or immuno-suppressed patients such as cancer patients with lowered immune systems, can easily can pick up illnesses that are going around.”
Kerrie has worked for the Trust since 2008 and was initially a District Nurse in the St Anne’s area. She has now worked in the Occupational Health department for two years and recently became a Sister in the department.
She said the Trust’s ‘Peer Vaccinators’ are an enormous help in making sure as many members of staff, students and volunteers as possible have the opportunity to have a flu jab.
She said: “Our Peer Vaccinators come from the Trust’s clinical teams. They have training and then they go out with lots of vaccines into different areas within the trust. Peer vaccinators are also available to community based staff, where staff can’t easily leave work to have a jab.
“They do a fantastic job.”
Caroline Spence, a Clinical Administrative Assistant who works with Kerrie on the Trust’s flu vaccination programme, added: “Most members of staff are up for having a jab.
“Personally, I get it done to protect myself and my colleagues. I also come into contact with patients and members of the public so I do it for them too. I wouldn’t want to be off work with the flu.”
Kerrie and Caroline said members of the public should contact their GP to enquire about flu vaccination.
Staff can book a vaccination with Occupational Health by contacting the team on 01253 957950. The team holds sessions that you can book on most afternoons. There are also drop-in sessions at The Restaurant at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The next restaurant session is on October 25 between 11am and 1.30pm. All are welcome to attend.
Flu clinics and rotas for staff are advertised on the front page of the Trust Intranet and details are also included in this year’s flu video which can be viewed on the Trust website (www.bfwh.nhs.uk) and on the Trust’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/BlackpoolHospitals) and Twitter (@BlackpoolHosp) pages.