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Last Updated: Monday, 19 September 2005, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Nurses 'not taking flu vaccine'
Many staff did not think they needed the flu jab
Vulnerable elderly patients could be at risk of catching flu from nurses who have not been vaccinated against the virus, a report has said.

Research at two Liverpool hospitals found less than 8% of healthcare workers had annual jabs.

But more than half had taken sick leave due to flu-type symptoms in the previous three months.

The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, did not name the hospitals where staff were surveyed.

The report's authors said increased vaccination of hospital staff would ease staffing crises during the winter.

Many of the respondents appeared to demonstrate general apathy towards the flue vaccination
Dr Helen Canning

Of the 144 staff interviewed, 29% said they did not need to be vaccinated and 18% said they were not aware of the vaccine.

Only 10% knew the vaccine would protect patients against the serious complications of flu and 11% of staff were concerned about side effects of the jab.

"Vaccinating healthcare workers against flu can reduce staff sickness and winter pressures as well as reducing deaths among frail older patients," said Dr Helen Canning, who carried out the research at the University of Liverpool.

"Our study found that the main reason for poor vaccine uptake was a basic lack of knowledge and understanding of the vaccine, especially regarding benefits and side-effects.

"Many of the respondents appeared to demonstrate general apathy towards the flue vaccination."

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