Free flu vaccinations for all Oxfordshire care workers
Oxfordshire County Council and the NHS in Oxfordshire are helping social care workers to Stay Well this Winter by offering everyone working in direct personal care a free flu vaccination.
More than 10,000 people across Oxfordshire are set to benefit from this new NHS funded scheme, including care home and hospital staff, community workers and those providing personal home support.
From Wednesday (15 November), care workers can simply go to their local pharmacy or GP Practice and ask for their free flu jab, showing their ID badge as proof of employment.
Care workers in Oxfordshire will be able to get their free flu jabs before other parts of the country, thanks to local plans already put in place before the national scheme was announced. Interim funding for the vaccinations is being provided by the Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure carer workers can be vaccinated as early in the flu season as possible.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health Hilary Hibbert-Biles said: “We value everyone working in health and social care across Oxfordshire, and we need our workforce to stay well this winter to deliver vital services. That's why we’re making it as easy as possible for everyone who works in care services to get a vaccination and help prevent the spread of the illness.
“Rolling out the free flu jabs for people working in social care early in the season is one many ways we work together to manage the impact of winter on Oxfordshire's communities and services.”
Dr Ed Capo-Bianco, South East Locality Clinical Director said: “Many people think that being fit and healthy will spare them from the flu, but everyone is susceptible. This year we are pleased to be working with Care Providers in Oxfordshire to enable their staff to get the vaccination. This will ensure that more people working in a caring role are protected against the virus. Flu is an unpredictable virus that can cause mild or unpleasant illness in most people, so protecting staff who are looking after vulnerable patients is really important.”
Flu can be an unpleasant disease for healthy people, but for vulnerable people it can be fatal. Many people with flu show no symptoms, meaning social care workers who feel fit and healthy can unwittingly infect the people they care for.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to stop the spread of influenza and prevent deaths. It can also ease pressures that a heavy flu outbreak would place on health and social services - as seen in Australia and New Zealand.
Providing free flu vaccinations to everyone employed in social care is a significant expansion of the national flu vaccination programme aimed at key groups including:
•people aged 65 years and over
•people with a serious medical conditions
•children aged two and three and those in reception class and school years 1,2,3 and 4
•people in receipt of carers allowance
•those living in residential care homes or long-stay care facilities
Any care worker who has already been invited by their GP for a free vaccination should get one via this route.