Advice and resources

Advice and resources for nursing staff on seasonal flu vaccinations

Flu vaccinations 2020/2021

Please see the following list of 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

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Introduction

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.

As information becomes available on the COVID-19 vaccine it will be made available on the RCN COVID-19 and immunisation clinical pages.

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.

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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
  • carers.

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.

See: RCN position statement on staff influenza vaccine

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.

Additional references

General guidance

Immunisation training

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

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

Training resources

Country specific guidance

England:

Northern Ireland:

Scotland:

Wales:

  • 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 - 29/07/2020