Advice and resources
Advice and resources for nursing staff on seasonal flu vaccinations
Flu vaccinations 2020/2021
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The Influenza vaccination programme for 2020/2021 will be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in terms of delivery of the vaccine safely within the pandemic guidance on infection prevention and control. It is also being aware of the potential for a COVID-19 vaccine becoming available at some point during the season.
The RCN guidance for mass vaccination provides some useful tips and considerations for managing the programme safely during the pandemic.
This information is focused is on the influenza vaccine and provides authoritative resources on influenza and influenza vaccinations.
If you are having any difficulties accessing vaccination in your frontline care role, please call us via RCND on: 03457726100.
- To protect yourself and your patients this winter: why immunisation is important for all nursing staff
- Flu the facts.
Background to Influenza vaccination
The influenza immunisation programme in the UK is based on recommendations by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent expert advisory committee that advises all UK health departments on vaccination and immunisation programmes.
The annual flu immunisation is recommended for the following groups across the UK:
- Those at particular risk of severe infection; older people, those who are immunosupressed and those with other underlying health conditions
- All children aged 2 and 3 years, those in primary school and up to year 7
- Those at most risk of transmitting infection such as: all health and social care workers with direct patient/client contact
Health and social care workers
Health care workers have a responsibility to protect their patients and for nurses this is enshrined in the NMC code. Flu vaccination for health care workers helps to stop the transmission of the flu virus and is fully supported by professional bodies like the RCN and British Medical Association (BMA).
The RCN recommends that all members with direct patient care (including students on placement) are fully vaccinated against flu as part of their clinical and professional responsibilities to reduce the risks of spreading the infection to the people they care for.
Having a flu vaccine annually remains the best way to protect against catching or spreading flu. Nursing staff should make sure that they have the flu vaccine annually to protect themselves and that those they care for also have the vaccine every year.
Guidance is available from the Specialist Pharmacy Services (SPS) on authorisation for administration of the influenza vaccine for health care staff.
- NHS England (2016) Healthcare worker vaccination: clinical evidence
- Public Health England (2018) PHE evidence annex Health Care Workers and vaccination 2018.
- RCN: clinical topic - immunisation
- RCN: Medicines management page
- Public Health England: ‘Immunisation Against Infectious Diseases’: The Green Book
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
- Influenza campaign resources: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
- The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Pharmaceutical officer in England have issued advice on the prescribing and supply of antiviral medicines for the prevention and treatment of influenza.
Public Health England immunisation training standards and core curriculum are applicable in England and Wales. The principles outlined in the standards may provide immunisers with some useful guidance and may be of use for those in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well.
See also the PHE statement: Immunisation training guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
England and Wales
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence- Flu vaccination: increasing uptake Quality Standard (QS190 2020)
- National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners (2018)
- National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training of Healthcare Support Workers (2012)
- Flu immunisation e-learning programme - An interactive flu immunisation e-learning programme, updated with the 2020/2021 influenza season information. The resource is written by PHE, and produced by Health Education England’s e-Learning for Healthcare, is available for anyone involved in delivering the flu immunisation programme
- Wales e-learning programme
- Video from NHS Education for Scotland for health professionals on how to administer the LAIV vaccine.
- AstraZeneca RCN Accredited eLearning resource for the LAIV
Country specific guidance
- Public Health England (PHE) annual Flu programme resources
- NHS E/I Directed Enhanced Service Specification Seasonal influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination programme 2020/21
- NHS Choices Influenza vaccination
- Childhood flu programme: information for healthcare practitioners
- PHE resources on supporting people with learning difficulties.
- The NI Public Health Agency's Seasonal Influenza public health information and Flu Aware NI
- Healthcare worker flu resources.
- Health Protection Scotland Influenza information and NHS24 Influenza pages
- E-learning resource from NHS Education for Scotland
- See NHS inform child flu vaccine
- All elements of the annual influenza campaign in Wales (including for health and social care workers) are supported by Wales' Beat Flu campaign.
Page last updated - 25/02/2021