Healthcare staff in Limerick urged to get the flu jab this winter

Healthcare staff in Limerick urged to get the flu jab this winter

Anne Ryan, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare and Suzanne Dunne, UL Hospitals Group at the launch of the staff vaccination campaign

HEALTHCARE workers in Limerick and across the Mid West are being urged to get the flu vaccine this winter.

The UL Hospitals Group and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare have launched their Staff Flu Vaccination Campaign, emphasising the continued importance of immunisation against flu in the COVID-19 era, as well as helping UNICEF to fight polio in the developing world.

As part of this year's campaign, for every healthcare worker who gets the Flu Vaccine, UL Hospitals and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare will ensure three children each receive the required four doses of vaccines to ensure they are fully immunised against polio.

Suzanne Dunne, Head of Strategy at UL Hospitals is urging all staff to embrace the vaccination campaign as enthusiastically as they did last year.

“This Winter it is so important to get vaccinated in order to build a robust immune defence in our hospitals and communities against the threat of dual Covid/influenza infection. If all our staff get their flu vaccine, collectively we will ensure that up to 19,000 vulnerable children are fully vaccinated against polio in the developing world. So get vaccinated, not just for you, your patients and your family, but also to make an impact for some of the most vulnerable groups in the international community,” she said.

Anne Ryan, Head of Service, Health & Wellbeing, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare added: “We’re encouraging all HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare staff to get the flu vaccine to protect themselves and the people they care for in their jobs and their families. This is particularly important as we continue to work in a community where Covid-19 prevalence is relatively high."

Dr Rose Fitzgerald, Specialist in Public Health Medicine at Public Health Mid-West, is supporting the call for healthcare workers to get vaccinated against flu.

“Flu is a highly infectious illness that affects all age groups and may result in serious disease with poor outcomes for our most vulnerable, particularly the elderly and those with weak immune systems. Although flu did not circulate widely in the Mid-West last year, it is possible we could have a severe flu season in the coming months, as witnessed in recent years before the Covid-19 pandemic," she said.

"As Covid-19 restrictions ease at the end of this month, we expect a considerable increase in social activity with reduced mask-wearing and less social distancing in many indoor settings. Additionally, because we did not experience the flu last year, it is possible that the population may have less immunity against flu this coming season. This is something we may have to be more conscious of. The flu vaccine is safe, and effective in reducing the risk of serious infection," added Dr Fitzgerald.

Healthcare workers and members of the public are also being urged to be extra vigilant of misinformation and disinformation on social media, and to follow trusted sources, such as the mainstream media and if they wish to learn more about the flu and the available vaccines this season.

This year’s Flu Vaccination Clinics are running in the Mid-West COVID-19 Vaccination Centres in Limerick, Ennis and Nenagh, along with a number of pop-up clinics that will be organised in our hospital sites.

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