How the predicted resurgence of influenza could impact your organisation…

The last two flu vaccination seasons have been the most ambitious yet, as the Department of Health and Social Care sought to offer protection to as many eligible people as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of interventions such as mask wearing, social distancing and the reduction of international travel, influenza activity levels have been extremely low. As social contact returns, there is likely to be a resurgence in influenza in winter 2022 to 2023.

The Department of Health and Social Care released their National flu immunisation programme plan for 2022 to 2023, which outlines which groups are eligible for the influenza vaccination. The forecast of rising flu in the population makes this is even more important than in previous years.

For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease with recovery generally within a week.

However, there is a particular risk of severe illness from catching flu for:

  • Older people
  • The very young
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with underlying disease, such as chronic respiratory or cardiac disease
  • Those who are immunosuppressed

All frontline health care and social care workers should be offered vaccination by their employer. This is an employer’s responsibility to help protect their staff and service users, and ensure the overall safe running of services. This letter recommends employers should commission or implement a service which makes access to the vaccine easy for all frontline staff, encourages staff to get vaccinated, and monitors the delivery of their programme.

It was also confirmed that those eligible for the NHS influenza program are the cohorts offered vaccine prior to the pandemic:

  • All children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2022
  • All primary school aged children (from reception to Year 6)
  • Those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • Those aged 65 years and over
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline staff employed by the following types of social care providers without employer led occupational health schemes:
    → A registered residential care or nursing home
    → Registered domiciliary care provider
    → A voluntary managed hospice provider
    → Direct Payment (personal budgets) or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants

In the 2020-2021 vaccine uptake, 76.8% of frontline health workers and those who work within a social care setting had received their influenza vaccine. However, in the 2021-2022 uptake, only 60.5% of health and social care workers had received their influenza vaccination. As an industry, it’s our responsibility to ensure we reverse this uptake trend, the sector is already under immense pressure with currently circa 182,000 vacancies. It’s imperative our sector acts fast on this, to ensure vaccinations can be given with sufficient time to ensure our staff and service users are protected before influenza starts circulating.

Click here to read full breakdown of National flu immunisation programme plan for 2022 to 2023

If you would like to discuss the above, or about how we can collaborate, please let us know. To get in touch, email or call us on 03305 552233.

As a specialist, family-run recruitment business, we provide a proactive and consultative approach to recruitment within Social Care. We help organisations to target issues such as continuity of staffing, reducing spend where you have a high volume of agency usage and supporting those who have specific talent requirements or are in hard to fill locations. We can help with any immediate staffing requirements or longer-term recruitment projects to ultimately save you time and money on agency spend.

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