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Tis the season for flu immunisation and as a doctor, you’re aware that flu kills, just like hepatitis B and a variety of other viruses. When we travel abroad, we seek maximum immunisation to protect ourselves, yet the uptake of flu vaccination amongst NHS staff is the lowest of all vaccination groups, albeit improving.
We all understand the need to protect the elderly and chronically sick and the drive to vaccinate children is to reduce the chance of an epidemic.
Why should you, as a doctor, get a flu jab? Because of the job we do as doctors, with direct patient contact, we, and other healthcare professionals, may be at increased risk of getting flu. So getting vaccinated means you’re protected, along with those you care for.
As members of staff in the NHS, we are privileged to be eligible for free flu vaccination. And furthermore, as a health care worker, I believe you have a moral duty to protect yourself and your patients.
It’s important to remember is that a full blown epidemic of influenza will kill the young and the fit, as well as the old and infirm. Last century's Spanish flu epidemic wiped out tens of thousands of young fit people, especially men. Previous lesser epidemics, and even non-epidemic years, led to large numbers of hospital admissions, often to ITU.
Vaccinations are available now and should ideally be given early in the autumn before flu starts to circulate, but it can be given later in the season, throughout the winter months.
I’ll be getting my annual flu jab this year, and I hope you will too.
Find out more about the flu vaccination at www.beatflu.org