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Swine flu take up good at hospitals

PUBLISHED: 10:21 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:26 03 July 2010

Hospital bosses have reported an “excellent” take up rate of the swine flu vaccination just one week after it was launched.

More than 270 frontline staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have so far been vaccinated and 200 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Kings Lynn.

Hospital bosses have reported an “excellent” take up rate of the swine flu vaccination just one week after it was launched.

More than 270 frontline staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have so far been vaccinated and 200 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Kings Lynn.

The James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston has only just received the medicine and will be starting their programme this week.

The vaccination is will be used to protect frontline NHS staff as well as those classed in the “at-risk” group from the virus as it is expected to further rise in the coming weeks.

It is good news for the county's hospitals because nationally doctors and nurses have caused controversy with some not taking up the offer of the vaccine.

It believed many staff are reluctant to have the jab over the belief the virus is so mild but it has led some members of the public to become concerned about taking it themselves.

An N&N spokesman said: “We took delivery of our vaccine supply late on Thursday last week and started our frontline staff vaccination on Friday and then over the weekend.

“The response has been very good and by Monday morning a total of 270 frontline staff have had the vaccination. The weekend sessions focused on staff in the emergency department, Jenny Lind children's department, and maternity.”

The programme is in accordance with the Department of Health plan and highest priority areas are emergency departments, children and maternity units and then rolling out this week to staff in critical care, theatres and other wards.

The swine flu vaccination programme is different to the seasonal flu vaccination programme which is open to all members of staff at the same time - the H1N1 programme is much more targeted.

Staff at the QEH were the first in the county to begin vaccinations and Geoff Hunnam, QEH medical director and consultant radiologist was among the first to receive it.

He said: “I believe everyone in the 'at risk' groups should seriously consider having the vaccine. We are fortunate that a vaccine is available to protect people which was not the case with previous pandemic outbreaks.

“As professionals we have a duty to care and protect our patients and this vaccine will stop us passing the virus on. It's important for hospital staff to keep well so that we are fit and available should the pandemic increase.

“From a personal point of view, it will prevent me passing the virus on to my family, friends and colleagues.”

As well as front line staff, people who are considered at “high risk” will be offered the jab as a priority - people with long term conditions, pregnant women, those under six months and over the age of 65.

Meanwhile, people who are not in the high risk group are being urged to be patient while the vaccination programme is being rolled out.

GP practices will contact members of the community identified as being in the priority groups and doctors are asking people not to contact their surgery for more information on the vaccine.

If you think that you may have swine flu, you should contact National Pandemic Flu Service for assessment, which is available on 0800 1513100, or use the online service at: www.direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu.

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