Having the flu jab this year could save a life – yours, a hospital patient’s or a member of your family’s.
That’s the message to staff at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, as part of a hard-hitting campaign to encourage them to get vaccinated against flu.
The campaign includes posters of real-life patients who “have enough of a fight on their hands” without also having to fight flu.
These include Karen Tabassum, 39, from Middlesbrough, who was photographed whilst receiving treatment in the A&E department of The James Cook University Hospital.
Karen explained: “I have blood clots on my lungs. If I got the flu as well, it could be really serious.”
“It’s vital that all our staff, from doctors and nurses to ward clerks and cooks have the vaccine; not just for their own health, but for the health of all our patients and their own family’s health too.”
Jude, a baby boy in the neonatal unit at James Cook, also features as part of the campaign.
His poster reads: “I am fighting to get well, please don’t make me fight the flu too!”
The campaign will also feature an ultrasound scan picture of an unborn baby with the message: “Please have your flu jab to keep me safe while I’m busy growing.”
It is hoped this will encourage staff as well as pregnant women, who are eligible for the jab at their GP surgery, to get the vaccine.
The trust would also like to encourage people over 65 and those with certain health conditions to get a free flu vaccine by contacting their own GP.
Elaine Mockler, occupational health service manager at the trust, said: “It’s vital that our staff, from doctors and nurses to ward clerks and cooks have the vaccine; not just for their own health, but for the health of all our patients and their own family’s health too.
“Put simply, flu can be deadly and the vaccine protects against the most deadly strains of the virus.”
“That’s why we’ve chosen to combine some really powerful images of real-life patients with the message ‘Protect Me, Protect You, Protect Everyone From Flu,” this year.”
Staff vaccination dates
Join the fight against flu! Staff can visit our flu vaccination timetable and go and get the vaccine at a time that fits around your schedule
Last year, 75% of the trust’s staff got the flu vaccine between October 2015 and February 2016. This year, the trust is aiming to achieve at least 75% by December 31.
Elaine explains this is not just an empty target, but vital to protecting both staff and patients from the most deadly strains of the virus which are circulating.
She said: “If at least 75% of staff have the vaccine within the first three months of the campaign, this will help provide the best protection for their patients, themselves and their families, by building up “herd immunity”.
“This is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection – in this case by having the flu jab.
“Whilst the flu jab will not necessarily protect you from all strains of flu circulating in the population, it will protect you from the most deadly. It is also a myth that the vaccine gives you symptoms of flu as it does not contain any active virus.”
Using the Twitter hashtags #flutober, #flufighter and #yesvember during the next two months, we’ll be encouraging staff to tweet their pictures @SouthTees showing they have protected patients by getting the vaccine.
You can see our hard-hitting posters below.