Department of health flu
General Optical Council eBulletin 25
October 2015

A message from the Department of Health

The Department of Health has issued a call for all heath and social care workers, including optometrists and dispensing opticians, to be vaccinated against influenza this winter.

Flu immunisation remains the most effective method to help protect against influenza infection.  By being immunised members of the health and care profession help protect not only themselves and their family, but also the most vulnerable individuals they come into contact with.

Section 29 of the General Medical Council’s 2013 Good Medical Practice Guidance states: “You should be immunised against common serious communicable diseases (unless otherwise contraindicated)”.  Last year only 55 per cent of frontline health and social care workers were immunised against influenza.

Flu causes severe illness and deaths each year particularly among at-risk groups, including: older people; pregnant women; and those with a long-term health condition, even one that is well managed.  This is why flu vaccination is offered to the at-risk groups each year before the flu virus starts to circulate.

Vaccination is the best protection currently available against the unpredictable influenza virus. The Department of Health has stated that it is crucial that if you are eligible, you get vaccinated early before the general public start getting flu.

Public Health England has published a blog answering some common questions around flu vaccine effectiveness and drift. It can be viewed at https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2015/01/15/the-flu-detectives-solving-a-crime-before-it-happens/

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