Flu FAQs

SAVE ITEM
Flu bugs and mugs

We don’t have enough people trained to vaccinate – what can we do?
We don’t have enough resources to use incentives – what can we do?
It’s hard to catch community staff – what do you suggest?
Doctors are particularly hard to target – why is that and what can we do?
There are still a lot of myths circulating – how can we stop this?
What are the ultimate top tips for a successful campaign?
When are the deadlines for submitting uptake data to ImmForm?
We've been given a target uptake, who has it come from?

 

We don’t have enough people trained to vaccinate – what can we do?

It may not take as much time as you may think to train new vaccinators, as some people may only need a quick update, which can be done in groups. The HPA National Minimum Standards for Immunisation Training provides guidance on training vaccinators. If you find anything unclear, please contact the HPA in the first instance, or the flu fighter team.

We don’t have enough resources to use incentives – what can we do?

It needn’t cost a lot of money to run a successful flu fighter campaign and incentives aren't always needed. Luton and Dunstable Occupational Health team sent emails out offering the next vaccine candidate items such as their coaster or a mug left by a sales rep. If the workforce is educated about the benefits of vaccination and has access to the vaccine, then friendly encouragement, enthusiasm and plenty of cajoling can go a long way. 

It’s hard to catch community staff – what do you suggest?

You can send free text messages through NHS mail, so you could update community staff with work mobiles when and where clinics are taking place. Your organisation may be able to offer vouchers for vaccination at a pharmacy or supermarket, which could be more convenient for your staff. We are currently looking for a community trust that has come up with some innovative ways to improve uptake, so if you have raised uptake in your community trust and want to share your ideas, please contact us at  flufighter@nhsemployers.org

Doctors are particularly hard to target – why is that and what can we do?

Feedback suggests that doctors need a stronger case of evidence before getting vaccinated against flu. We have published clincial evidence aimed at doctors and other clinicans alike, this clinical evidence was developed with an experienced doctor; this outlines the evidence for flu vaccination and supports the need to get vaccinated, to protect yourself, your family and your patients. Getting the flu jab is an important part of patient care.

There are still a lot of myths circulating – how can we stop this?

You can refer to our flu facts, adding these to your own communication channels - perhaps link to these flu facts from your intranet home-page. Turn them into a quick quiz or a true-or-false test if you want staff to get really engaged with the messages. Make sure your flu team (Occupational Health, Communications, HR etc) are sending out consistent messages so that everyone is clear about the facts. Check that your flu vaccinators know as much as they can about the vaccine so that they can confidently answer any queries and talk through any worries. If someone asks a question that you’re not sure about, get in touch with us.  

What are the ultimate top tips for a successful campaign?

Look at our guide to running your campaign which highlights four top tips to running a successful flu fighter campaign: 

1.Communication
Tell everyone about the campaign. Put posters and flyers on notice boards, in staff rooms, in staff toilets, on payslips and on keyboards. Useweb banners on the intranet and in email signatures. Use the case studies and flu facts in staff magazines and email updates. Do everything that you can think of...

2.Vaccination
Make the vaccine as accessible as possible. Vaccinate at various times of day and night in various places, from a lunchtime clinic in the canteen to a 6:30am shift handover session near a main entrance or exit. Flexibility from the vaccination team, and making sure the team is made up of people working various shift patterns will make the vaccine accessible to staff.

3. Education
Make sure everyone is clear on the evidence base for the campaign. Remember, influenza is highly contagious, dangerous, and largely preventable. A key message is that we can carry and pass on the virus without showing symptoms, so the best way to protect yourself, your family and your patients is to get vaccinated - be a flu fighter, get your flu jab.

4. Leadership
Try to make sure your board members are leading by example and keeping flu on the agenda so that these important messages filter out to everybody. Photograph some key people in your organisation (e.g. CEO, Directors, any well-known familiar faces) having their jab and circulate a picture every few days or every week so the images are fresh.

 

When are the deadlines for submitting data to ImmForm?

Data must be submitted on four occasions from the 1 November 2013.  The survey is cumulative, so data submitted should be on vaccinations given from 1 September 2013 until the relevant month end.

The ImmForm submission dates for 2013/14 are:

• Data on vaccinations between 1 September and 31 October 2013 should be submitted between 1 November and 11 November 2013
• Data on vaccinations between 1 September and 30 November 2013 should be submitted between 2 December and 10 December 2013
• Data on vaccinations between 1 September and 31 December 2013 should be submitted between 2 January and 14 January 2014
• Data on vaccinations between 1 September and 31 January 2014 should be submitted between 3 February and 11 February 2014

If your trust has finished your vaccination programme before the final collection dates, ensure that the 'We have finished our seasonal flu vaccination campaign so these data can be regarded as final' box is ticked.  If you do not select this box, you must continue submitting data or you will appear as a 'non-responder'.  If your trust's campaign is marked as complete, but further vaccination is undertaken, figures for subsequent months can still be amended.

For further information about ImmForm access the ImmForm helpsheets.

 

We've been given a target uptake, who has it come from?

Local targets are sometimes set for NHS staff seasonal influenza uptake.  NHS Employers do not and have not ever set targets nationally or for individual trusts.

Recently, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that trusts receiving additional winter pressures funding will be expected to increase their staff flu vaccination rates of all front line staff this winter and next to 75 per cent.

The aim is to reduce absenteeism due to sickness and reduce the potential for staff infecting patients with flu and increasing their time in hospital. Trusts have been informed that if they do not achieve the 75 per cent target this winter, they will seriously damage their case to receive the winter pressures funding next year.

If your trust is affected by this announcement and you would like further support and advice in achieving the 75 per cent target, please call us on 0844 334 52 52 or email us on flufighter@nhsemployers.org.  

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