The uptake of the flu vaccination among Irish healthcare workers has slightly increased after a HSE campaign, however the rate for nurses is extremely low at just over 32%.
In October, Minister for Health Simon Harris expressed his concern that hospital staff were not opting in to get their flu jab despite flu season on its way.
The Journal reports that Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan had warned that staff who aren't vaccinated could be a risk to patients and can spread the flu, as well as being absent from work at times when they are most needed if they fall ill.
“The rates among nurses are of most concern given that they are so low in comparison to others and given that in numerical terms they constitute the majority of health professionals in the care settings in question. I have particular concern about the lack of leadership from nursing unions as well as others in this area,” he said.
Uptake of the vaccination had increased marginally since the HSE ran incentives such as entry to a raffle, free tea or coffee if they availed of the flu jab, however just one in three nurses have been vaccinated.
56% of medical and dental staff have had the flu vaccination and the HSE says that it expects the numbers to rise.