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Fighting Flu in Cork Kerry Community Healthcare

A message from Flu lead, Jennie Synnott, the interim flu lead for Cork and Kerry Community Healthcare.

In 2016 I experienced an outbreak in the unit I was working in, and I never want to see patients and staff that ill again. I also don’t want to be responsible for spreading the virus to people I care for, to my colleagues or to take it home to my family. That’s why I get the vaccine, and why I’m encouraging all staff to get the vaccine too. It’s the best way to stop the spread of the flu.

Peer vaccination clinics will take place in community hospitals, mental health units and other locations across Cork and Kerry in the weeks ahead. Having a clinic on site means it’s free, quick and easy to get your vaccine and have protection against the flu. Keep an eye out for your local clinic for your FREE vaccine, or contact Occupational Health on 066-7184432 (Kerry - University Hospital Kerry)  or 021-4922018 (Cork - Cork University Hospital)

Some of our colleagues have joined with experts to explain why they get the vaccine in this video:

The video reminds us that:

  • At least 24 people died in Cork and Kerry last winter because of the flu.
  • More than 100 children were hospitalised in Cork and Kerry last winter because of the flu.
  • You are infectious for one or two days before you show symptoms.
  • Even if you are in perfect health, you can have severe complications from the flu.
  • The flu hits people of all ages.
  • About 3 in 10 deaths from the flu are among people who were considered previously healthy.
  • Healthcare workers are 10 times more likely to be exposed to flu. They can have the flu and have no symptoms.

Get the vaccine, not the flu – Cork Kerry Community Healthcare flu vaccination campaign

Flu Launch group image cork kerry 260x184

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare’s flu vaccine campaign is underway, and Minister for Older People and Mental Health Jim Daly has given his support.

Minister Daly received his flu vaccination at Clonakilty Community Hospital at a peer vaccination clinic, and urged people working in healthcare settings to get the flu vaccine. Last year saw an increase in the number of healthcare workers receiving the flu vaccine and Minister Daly said he is keen to see this continue this year.

“Uptake of the flu vaccine by healthcare workers is an essential step in preventing the spread of flu to the older people they care for on a regular basis,” he said.

Community hospitals and other Cork Kerry Community Healthcare facilities across both counties are holding peer vaccination clinics so that staff can easily receive their vaccine, administered by their peers.

Ger Reaney, the Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, thanked the many staff who have already gotten the flu vaccine this year, and asked all staff to consider getting this vital protection.

“Healthcare workers are 10 times more likely to be exposed to the flu. They can have the flu and have no symptoms. This means they are unaware that they are spreading the flu to patients, colleagues and taking it home to their families and loved ones,” he said.

Jennie Synnott, the flu lead for Cork and Kerry Community Healthcare said she has personally seen the impact of a flu outbreak.

“In 2016 I experienced an outbreak in the unit I was working in, and I never want to see patients and staff that ill again. I also don’t want to be responsible for spreading the virus to people I care for, to my colleagues or to take it home to my family. That’s why I get the vaccine, and why I’m encouraging all staff to get the vaccine too. It’s the best way to stop the spread of the flu,” she said.

There was an increase in the level of uptake among healthcare workers in Cork and Kerry during the 2017/2018 flu season, and all staff are asked to consider getting the vaccine.

By getting the vaccine, healthcare workers protect themselves, the people they work with and their loved ones.

In the 2017/2018 influenza season, at least 100 children were hospitalised across Cork and Kerry because of the flu, while sadly at least 24 people died in the two counties.

For staff in areas where peer vaccination clinics are not available, the vaccine is available free of charge from their local Occupational Health department.