TPCH staff ready to fight flu season
As the flu season heats up, staff at The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) are getting vaccinated to keep themselves and their patients safe.
Almost 3,500 hospital staff, around 88 per cent of TPCH’s workforce, have received their vaccination since the start of the hospital’s Staff Influenza Vaccination Program on April 9 this year.
This year’s flu season is expected to hit hard with latest Queensland Health data showing more than 21,000 cases of flu have been reported this year, four times the average rate for the past four years.
TPCH’s Infection Management Service Clinical Nurse Consultant Janice Geary said it was important for staff to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves against the flu by building immunity to the virus and reducing transmission of the virus to other people.
“Influenza cases in Queensland peak during winter each year, with the season usually occurring between May and October,” Janice said.
“However interestingly this year, we have seen more cases of influenza in summer than in previous years.“Receiving the vaccine from April allows protection to develop well ahead of the peak of influenza activity, which usually occurs in mid-August.
“I am pleased to see so many of our staff taking advantage of the flu vaccination program.
“Our staff work in close contact with many patients on a daily basis, some of whom are very contagious.
“Despite having the best infection control measures in place, it’s vital that our staff get vaccinated as this is the most effective way of protecting themselves again the flu, as well our patients, our co-workers and our families.
TPCH’s Executive Director Michele Gardner said she was proud of staff for taking responsibility of their own health during the winter period.
“The more people who are vaccinated in the community, the less likely the flu will spread, and the safer our community will be when they come to hospital,” Michele said.
The flu vaccine is safe, and free under the National Immunisation Program to eligible people. It takes about two weeks to be effective and needs to be repeated each year as the flu strains change.