Call for more workers to take the flu vaccine

TRADE union UNISON has called on more health and social care workers in Londonderry to take advantage of the winter flu vaccine.

To date only 20 per cent of staff have taken up the vaccine across Trusts and regional health organisations.

While the flu hasn’t become a significant problem yet, UNISON believes that is important that staff themselves are vaccinated and can better protect their clients, colleagues and own families.

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Marion Ritchie, Chair of the UNISON Nurses Forum stated: “As nurses we should be leading the way as we are advocates for the patient and as advocates we have a duty of care to minimise any risk and this is one way we should be doing it.”

This year’s vaccine contains three strains of the flu virus which are thought to be most likely to be circulating this winter, including the H1N1 (swine flu) virus which gives between 70 per cent and 80 per cent protection against viruses that are a close match to the vaccine.

Last year, adults of working age were the group most affected by flu and also suffered the most serious complications. Many of these were previously healthy with no underlying conditions.

Darren Logan, a clerical officer got his vaccination in November. He stated: “It took less than five minutes and the more people who are vaccinated will help reduce the virus spreading and protect everyone.”

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Any member of Health & Social Care staff can access the vaccine through occupational health.

General advice from the Public Health Agency remains that those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women should get vaccinated and that an effective way to reduce the spread of the flu virus is good hygiene and ‘catch it, bin it, kill it.’ Information on the vaccine and other related issues is available at

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