Welcome to my Blog. I hope you find the posts interesting, informative and perhaps even entertaining(!). I'll update this Blog with my responses to topical stories of the day, important news and tales of my travels up and down the UK, meeting our inspirational nursing staff.

The RCN represents almost 400,000 nurses in the UK and is the country's largest nursing union.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Swine Flu vaccine

On Monday, I visited the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London to receive the swine flu vaccination. I cannot emphasise enough that the vaccine is safe and has been thoroughly tested. Unlike other flu jabs, the virus is ‘inactivate’ so there is no risk of getting flu from the vaccine.

The pandemic has already affected thousands across the UK and as winter temperatures set in, these numbers will undoubtedly go up. Many of us could be affected by the virus and not simply by becoming ill ourselves, but by seeing family members and friends trying cope with the symptoms.

For healthcare staff, I believe that it’s particularly important that they take up the vaccine. Staff run the risk of coming in contact with the virus or of passing it on to patients. So, for the benefit of both professionals and patients, it’s crucial that our workforce is fighting fit to deal with whatever lies ahead.

I’ve been shocked to hear healthcare workers tell me that they will consider the vaccination programme successful if just half the supplies get used. Whilst getting the vaccine is of course a matter of personal choice, I urge people to weigh up the very real benefits. Now is the time for preparation and action by health staff for patients.

Our health service is all about striving for the best for patients and I know that health workers are dedicated to giving their all for vulnerable patients. The nursing profession is about care, protection and dignity; to offer this we need a ready and robust workforce.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree. If you dont want to think about yourself at least think about the vulnerable

    It was a difficult decision, as it is with all vaccine related decisions, whether to give it our our children or not.

    After listening to conflicting opinions and advice we looked at risks on both sides:

    1. The real risks that swine flu posed including death

    2. The possible risks that the vaccines may carry - although empirical evidence suggested risks were low

    We could have only made one decision - to protect our vulnerable babies from Swine flu. Im next on the list.