University project aiming to improve care staff ‘flu jab uptake
Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have launched a project to increase the number of care home staff that take up the ‘flu vaccine.
The £1.4m FluCare project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will test different ways of encouraging staff to take up the vaccine.
The team hope that their work will help reduce the number of cases of flu in care homes, and importantly – save lives.
The three-year scheme will take place in collaboration with the universities of Leicester and Liverpool, Norwich Clinical Trials Unit and organisations including NHS England and NHS Improvement, the National Care Forum, Care England, Boots UK and Day Lewis Pharmacy.
The research team will investigate a range of approaches, such as community pharmacists vaccinating staff in the care home and offering incentives to managers.
They will work with care homes and pharmacies across East Anglia, London and the East Midlands, and test the approaches in ten care homes during flu season.
The team will go on to work with 70 care homes with low vaccination levels to see how their approaches improve vaccine uptake and whether the health of residents improved.
Professor David Wright from UEA’s School of Pharmacy said: “We have found three reasons for why staff do or do not get vaccinated. These are: how easily they can access vaccines, how important their manager sees staff vaccination, and their own personal attitudes and beliefs about vaccination.
“We want to find out which approaches work best to increase the number of staff being vaccinated. We hope that what we learn can also be used to improve Covid vaccine uptake.”
Wright continued: “This will show us how the ideas work in practice, how to best collect data and what happens in groups who carry on with service as usual.
“Learning from this, we will refine the service and decide which mixture of approaches to study on a larger scale. We will do this by carefully listening to those involved and by looking at the quality of information we received.”
UEA will also use its findings to develop a toolkit that will tell people about its new service and encourage them to use it.