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Uptake of flu jab among hospital staff fell sharply last winter, figures show

Health workers are recommended to get the vaccine annually to protect themselves and patients

The flu vaccine rollout will start next month. Photo: Stock image© Phovoir

Eilish O'

Uptake of the flu vaccine among hospital staff fell last winter, according to new figures. Staff uptake fell to 64pc compared to 71pc in the 2020-2021 season.

Health workers are recommended to get the flu vaccine annually to protect themselves and patients. However, based on the figures across 47 hospitals, more than one in three of the staff involved declined the jab.

The report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) comes amid fears of a big outbreak of flu this winter following a bad season in Australia.

The survey did not include all hospitals or staff who got the vaccine from their GP or pharmacist.

The flu vaccine rollout will start next month. The over-65s and healthcare staff will be offered the flu jab and a Covid-19 booster.

The uptake was highest at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, reaching 91.6pc and lowest in Kilcreene Orthopaedic Hospital, Kilkenny at just 37.3pc.

It fell below 50pc in a number of hospitals including in Ennis, Letterkenny, Mayo and Sligo.

The figures for last winter show, however, that among staff in nursing homes just 55.2pc got the flu jab. This was down from 63.3pc the previous season. Again, these figures do not cover all facilities.

Among residents of nursing homes the uptake stayed high at 93pc.

Vaccination rates among respite residents in the same centres were considerably lower at 82.8pc, although still an increase from 56.5pc the previous winter.

Among grades of staff the uptake was highest among doctors and dental workers at 78.8pc, while it was 63.2pc among nurses, falling to 50.7pc among patient and client care staff.

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