Flu vaccinations

Not enough people get the flu vaccine. We need to improve take-up to protect more people from serious illness.

Flu can kill. People with lung disease are 7 times more likely to die if they catch flu than someone who is not in an at-risk group

This is why people with lung disease should get vaccinated. So should anyone who looks after someone with lung disease, whether that’s as a health care professional, or caring for a family member.

Flu vaccinations for social care staff

What this page tells you

This page provides evidence and information on flu vaccinations in social care staff. It checks progress against the Taskforce recommendation to:

Increase rate of flu vaccination among the clinical at-risk groups and front-line NHS and social care staff who have contact with patients

This will be measured through the following measures of success:

  • Increase in the take-up rate of the flu vaccine among social care staff from baseline 25% to 100%

What's the story so far?

There is currently no data on flu vaccination rates for social care staff

Unfortunately, there is currently no nationally collected data on flu vaccination rates for social care staff. The most up to date estimates put the vaccination rates as low as 25%. When you compare this to the 74.3% vaccination rates amongst health care workers (2019), social care staff are far behind. Unvaccinated staff can potentially pose a major risk to the people they are trying to help.  

It is essential that social care workers get vaccinated to protect themselves and those they care for.  

All staff members must be vaccinated to reduce the risk of flu in NHS settings

Everyone caring for vulnerable individuals should see it as a professional duty to minimise the risk of passing on flu. Care workers look after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and it is important that they protect themselves and those receiving care against flu. We want to see 100% of social care staff receiving a flu vaccination each year. Vaccinating staff can help prevent this and has been shown to reduce disease spread and patient deaths from flu.

Vaccination also reduces sickness absences for staff who play such a critical role in caring for people with lung disease. Within NHS hospital and community health services, over 1.2 million working days are lost due to cold, cough and flu. Even if staff members do not feel unwell or show symptoms, they can still carry and spread the disease.

We need Public Health England to start collecting data on the uptake of flu vaccination among social care staff

Without regular data on the amount of social care staff getting their vaccination, it’s difficult to drive improvements. With better data we can highlight best practice across the country and help increase vaccination rates in areas where they are worst. With better data we can monitor progress and drive positive change.  

We need Public Health England to start collecting and publishing data on the take-up of flu vaccination among social care staff. 

If you give or receive care:

If you work in care or act as a carer to family or friends please ensure you get your flu vaccination.

If you receive regular help from social care and health care staff ask them if they’ve had their flu vaccination and make sure you’ve had yours.

You can find more information on getting your flu vaccination on our website, the NHS's page on who should have the flu vaccine or talk to your GP, midwife, local chemist or employer.

Our asks

What do we need?

  • Near universal uptake of the flu jab: All frontline health and social care workers need to be vaccinated.
  • Funding for annual flu vaccination programmes: A commitment from the Government to routinely fund the vaccination programme for social care staff, as well as NHS health care workers.
  • Quality monitoring and tracking: Public Health England to start collecting data on flu vaccine take-up among social care staff as part of a national data collection system to accompany the delivery and uptake of flu vaccinations.
  • To tackle variations in vaccine uptake: Continued work and support by NHSE/I and NHS organisations to tackle regional and staff level variations in flu vaccine uptake.

Data sources

All data sources can be found on our data sources page