NHS England has extended the eligibility of free flu immunisation to all social care staff directly involved in the delivery of care.
In October, NHS England, Public Health England, the Department of Health and NHS Improvement unveiled measures to boost the uptake of flu vaccinations this winter. As part of these measures. it agreed to provide free flu vaccines for hundreds of thousands of care home staff at a cost of up to £10m.
The eligibility for free flu immunisation has now been extended further. It covers all health and social care staff who are employed by care homes, care homes with nursing and domiciliary care agencies. Those staff should be directly involved in the care of vulnerable people who are at increased risk of exposure to flu.
High risk individuals include those aged 65 or over and people in a clinical risk group who have a serious, long-term condition such as chronic respiratory, heart, kidney or liver disease, a neurological condition, diabetes or a weakened immune system.
Staff can access their free flu vaccination via their community pharmacy or GP surgery, though they are recommended to check the service is available at their chosen location. NHS England says that eligible staff will be required to take appropriate ID with them, which shows their name and employer. This could be an ID badge, letter from their employer or recent pay slip.
All eligible staff are encouraged to take up their free immunisation to help protect themselves and the people they support this winter.