Flu fighters are music to the ears of patients

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Ambulance crews in Herts have become flu fighters in the biggest ever NHS vaccination campaign.

More than 700 paramedics and ambulance staff in the county have had flu jabs so far but bosses hope to beat the 1,200 dished out last year.

Every year flu kills hundreds of people who are elderly, very young or weakened by illness, and the East of England Ambulance Service wants to prevent staff catching flu or passing it to patients.

Chief executive Hayden Newton said: “It’s so important that staff choose to get vaccinated this year, to help protect themselves, their families and their patients.

“The NHS sees millions of patients every year whose age or poor health means flu could have a serious impact on their lives. The vaccinations are safe, effective, and really help to protect others.

“I hope we will see flu vaccinations become commonplace for NHS staff and I’m sure our patients want to see the same.”

Last year 45 per cent of frontline health workers in England got flu jabs, compared to 37.5 per cent the year before – an increase of 100,000.

In 2010/11 flu killed 602 people in England.

Seventy per cent of the fatal flu cases occurred in people aged between 15 and 64, whereas normally deaths tend to occur among older people.

Nearly 9,000 people were admitted to hospital with influenza and 2,200 ended up in intensive care.

People who are over 64, pregnant women and those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes are also encouraged to have a flu jab.