Public Health Dorset urges all healthcare workers to get their free flu jab and help avoid outbreaks this winter

Last year saw high numbers of flu outbreaks in care homes, and Public Health Dorset is urging all health and social care staff to receive their flu vaccination to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.

Public Health Dorset is asking care homes to:

  • Encourage ALL staff to take up the free flu vaccine – to protect patients and staff
  • Ensure that all eligible residents are encouraged to have the free flu vaccine
  • Remind visitors to stay away if they have flu-like-symptoms and when visiting to practice good hand hygiene to avoid the spread of infection.

Flu is very different to a normal cold and confines the fittest of people to bed. We know that for older people or those with long-term health conditions, the effects of flu can be much more serious, and in some cases even fatal.

Vaccination helps to reduce spread to the wider public and demand on the wider health system at a time when services are already under pressure.

As well as encouraging the flu vaccine, Public Health Dorset is also sharing materials from Public Health England with care homes across Dorset to help equip staff with tools and guidance on what to do if a resident falls ill with flu to prevent further illness within the home.

Rachel Partridge. Assistant Director of Public Health Dorset said: “We are committed to ensuring our community continue to be healthy, and we are working closely with our health and care partners to ensure that care home staff and residents stay well this winter.

“We would also like to remind everyone in Dorset that the best way to keep yourself, family and community safe from flu is by getting a flu vaccine.”

Kim Harris, Operations Manager at Figbury Lodge, a care home in Canford Heath said: “Our residents are vulnerable and we know if they catch flu, the consequences could be much more severe than in a healthy adult.  This is really distressing for the resident and their family, so we are encouraging all residents and staff to protect themselves and others by taking up the offer of a free flu vaccine.”

For more information about the flu and information about people who may be eligible for a free flu vaccine visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/