Southern DHB has launched its flu campaign and is encouraging its staff to take up the offer of a free influenza vaccination to protect themselves, their patients their colleagues, their families and their friends.
“The aim is to increase the update of the flu vaccination by our staff from 61 percent last year to over 75 percent this year,” said Southern DHB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nigel Millar.
“We really want our staff to be immunised against flu especially as healthcare workers are often more likely to come into contact with the influenza virus, and as a result are at greater risk of catching it. Having a well vaccinated workforce then limits the risk to our patients.
We know that flu can be a very serious illness for some people, but we also know that it can be easily prevented with a simple vaccination. This campaign is aimed at ensuring staff know the importance of having the flu vaccination.”
Information about the flu including flu facts and myths to help raise awareness about the benefits of the vaccine are being communicated to staff via the staff intranet, Facebook page and TV screens in Dunedin Hospital foyer. Staff are also being encouraged to share photos of themselves having the vaccination and reasons why to be posted on the staff intranet and DHB Facebook page.
“As well as using our own materials we’re also using promotional material from the National Influenza Specialist Group who manage the national annual influenza awareness campaign to help raise staff awareness about the benefits of the vaccine,” said Dr Millar.
The influenza vaccine is free for New Zealanders at high risk of complications - pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, and people of any age with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including serious asthma), kidney disease and most cancers.
Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch and for some, especially the elderly, vulnerable patients in hospital and for those in ‘at risk’ groups it can be very serious.
Although symptoms are similar to the common cold, they tend to be more severe and last for longer. Flu symptoms include a sudden high temperature, headache, general aches and pains, tiredness and a sore throat. They can make you feel so exhausted and unwell that you have to stay in bed and rest until you feel better.
For advice about influenza immunisation visit www.fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515
For free health advice, call Healthline on 0800 611 116.