Why care home staff should get their flu jabs this winter

Published by  News archive

On 9th Nov 2022

A  doctor with a flu jab.
Getty images

Care home staff should be strongly encouraged to take up the flu vaccine this winter – according to experts at the University of East Anglia.

Better uptake across all workers, including cooks, cleaners, and administrative staff, would not only help slow the spread of the virus among residents, but reduce the impact of sick leave among a workforce already at crisis point.

Dr Amrish Patel, from UEA’s School of Economics, is leading a £1.4 million ‘FluCare’ project to increase the number of care home staff that take up the flu vaccine.

He said: “At the moment we know that only around 30 per cent of care home staff take up the flu vaccine. This contrasts with the World Health Organisation target of 75 per cent.

“This is a big problem, because it means that vulnerable residents are being put at risk even if they have been vaccinated themselves, because their immune systems are poorer.

“Having the vaccination doesn’t stop carers and care home staff from getting the flu but it means that it’s more likely to be a milder and short illness, which in turn reduces the likelihood of passing it on to residents who are more vulnerable.

“Having the vaccination provides an extra layer of protection for the residents. It’s a belt and braces approach.

“This applies not only to the carers but to other people working in care homes, including the cleaners, cooks, maintenance, administrative staff, and managers.

“We know that the care home sector is also under immense pressure. Better uptake of the flu vaccine would help minimise disruption caused by staff sickness this winter,” he added.

The three-year FluCare project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and in collaboration with the University of Leicester, will test different ways of encouraging staff to take up the vaccine.

The team hope that their work will identify and overcome the barriers to flu vaccination which in turn will reduce illness in care home residents and staff.

And they are looking for care homes across England to take part.  

Dr Patel said: “We have already spoken to care home managers, staff and residents to find out about the barriers that make it difficult for staff to get vaccinated.

“Using this information, we have developed a package of measures that includes staff-focused flu vaccination clinics in care homes, and videos and posters to raise awareness. We are also investigating whether a financial incentive, for care homes that hit their flu vaccination target, would help - just like NHS organisations already receive.

“The next step is that we will be working with care homes to evaluate which measures work best, and we are looking for care homes to take part.”

To find out more about taking part in the FluCare trial visit www.flucare.co.uk or contact Jen Pitcher in the FluCare Recruitment team on 07795126728 / flu.care@uea.ac.uk.  

The project is hosted by Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System – which is made up of NHS organisations, councils, public services and voluntary and community partners, working together to help people lead longer, healthier and happier lives.

Latest News

A disabled child watches a video on a phone with an adult.
24 Mar 2023

More support needed for children with disabilities using the Internet

Children with disabilities need better support to manage their online lives and potential online risks, finds UEA researcher.

Read more >
A medical professional administering a Covid-19 vaccine.
23 Mar 2023

Vaccination halves risk of long Covid, largest study to date shows

Read more >
Sea defences on the coast of Ghana.
23 Mar 2023

Measuring impacts of climate change on heritage to be explored at conference

A major conference on coastal heritage loss due to climate change is taking place at the University of East Anglia next week.

Read more >
An injured man on the beach.
23 Mar 2023

Scientists warn of rise in potentially fatal bacterial infection due to global warming

Continued warming of the climate would see a rise in the number and spread of potentially fatal infections caused by bacteria found along parts of the coast of...

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
An injured man on the beach.
23 Mar 2023

Scientists warn of rise in potentially fatal bacterial infection due to global warming

Continued warming of the climate would see a rise in the number and spread of potentially fatal infections caused by bacteria found along parts of the coast of...

Read more >
A hand holding up a lightbulb with a graduation cap on, green background
22 Mar 2023

Success for UEA in QS World University Rankings

UEA has ranked in the top tier of universities worldwide in a number of areas in the QS World University Rankings By Subject 2023, released Wednesday 22 March,...

Read more >
Spring Street Market L-R: floral prints, crafter birds, The Street with visitors, fruit and vegetables, jewellery stall
17 Mar 2023

Student and graduate businesses given chance to shine on campus at Spring Street Market

Held on Wednesday 15 March, the inaugural Spring Street Market was a bustling success for the University of East Anglia (UEA), with a high turnout of both stall...

Read more >
A trans man in a business meeting.
17 Mar 2023

Study highlights challenges facing transgender and non-binary workers

New research led by the University of East Anglia highlights some of the challenges that transgender and non-binary staff can face at work.

Read more >
Photo L-R: (Thara Jose, Fergus Cutting, Josh Dixon, Elana Fraser) smiling at the Cyber 9/12 competition in London
16 Mar 2023

UEAnonymous at Cyber Strategy competition finals

UEAnonymous, a talented team of CMP students, made it to the finals of the Cyber 9/12 Strategy competition – one of just 17 teams selected of more than 120...

Read more >
A woman sleeping.
14 Mar 2023

UEA Sleep Lab open day this Friday

Researchers at the University of East Anglia will be throwing open the doors of their Sleep and Brain Research Unit to celebrate World Sleep Day this Friday,...

Read more >
13 Mar 2023

Creating an accessible communication space for all - new training for staff

Staff can take part in new training aimed at creating an accessible communication space for all, spearheaded by Lauren Flannery, Speech & Language Therapist &...

Read more >