Some of the biggest employers throughout West Sussex are taking steps to keep flu at bay by offering free vaccinations to all staff.
Hundreds of employees at West Sussex County Council and the local NHS have already taken advantage of this opportunity, and now both organisations are encouraging as many people as possible to protect themselves from flu too.
A joint statement from West Sussex County Council, NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG, NHS Crawley CCG, NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust says that this winter their staff will come into contact with thousands of members of the public and it is vital that as many people as possible take steps to help people stay well.
Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “It’s widely believed the coming flu season will be severe.
“Working in hospitals, we have a higher risk of catching flu and many of us could experience no symptoms yet still pass it on to our loved ones, colleagues and, of course, the people we care for.”
Since October the council and local NHS have been encouraging residents to go and get the flu jab, but now they are also putting the call out to local employers who can encourage their own staff to go and get the jab too.
The hope is that the more people vaccinated in the community the less opportunity there is for flu to spread.
West Sussex County Council Senior Adviser for Adults and Health, Ashvin Patel said: “Offering a free flu jab to all staff has been a really key step in trying to keep our council teams well.
“We hope this step will reduce sickness and allow us to keep much needed services running for our residents.
“It will also prevent our frontline staff passing on flu to some of the more ‘at- risk’ residents that we work with.”
The flu vaccine is free to groups considered ‘at-risk’, which include:
- those aged 65 years and over
- adults and children with health conditions or weakened immune systems
- children aged 2 and 3 and those in the school vaccination programme
- pregnant women.
If you are not in one of these groups, then you can also buy one from your local participating pharmacy.
Sam Allen, Chief Executive at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is leading by example and received her flu jab at a staff event.
She said: “Having a flu jab can protect those you care for and you and your colleagues and family from having the flu virus. For me this is simply why having the flu jab is so important.”
To find out if you are eligible for a free flu jab through the NHS and more information on seasonal flu, visit www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk/fight-flu.