Doctors are leading by example in the Whanganui District Health Board’s (WDHB) push for staff to have flu vaccinations.
For the third year in a row, doctors have achieved the highest coverage rate of the WDHB’s five occupational groups.
To date the results are:
• doctors - 82 percent
• allied health - 72 percent
• nurses - 69 percent
• midwives - 68 percent
• other - 57 percent.
WDHB Infection Prevention and Control clinical nurse specialist Jacqueline Pennefather says that by the end of Wednesday 6 September, overall coverage was 67 percent “but it’s important to understand that some staff chose to receive their flu vaccinations from their GP and, anecdotally, the number doing so could be substantial”.
Mrs Pennefather says staff who qualify for a free flu vaccination administered by a GP tell her they have it done when seeing their GP for another matter. Those who qualify for free flu vaccinations include:
• pregnant women (any trimester)
• anyone under 65 who has a medical condition such as respiratory disease or heart disease
• anyone aged 65 years or over.
From May 1 this year, all children aged from 6 months up to a young person’s 18th birthday living within areas impacted by earthquakes, also qualify. These include Seddon/Ward, rural Eastern Marlborough (Nelson Marlborough DHB), Kaikoura and Hurunui (Canterbury DHB).
Like many organisations and workplaces, the WDHB provides free flu vaccinations for all staff whose numbers taking up the offer continue to rise. Mrs Pennefather says it’s worth noting that flu vaccinations for all New Zealanders are available up to New Year’s Eve this year.
“I will continue to urge our staff and the Whanganui community to have their vaccination because the flu virus doesn’t suddenly disappear when spring arrives. As we’ve seen this year, many people have had the flu and some have been very unwell. I would urge people to do everything they can to avoid it.”