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Some pushback against vaccine in Temple St Hospital

The flu vaccine campaign in Temple Street Children’s University Hospital had a staff uptake of 72 per cent as of 21 February, despite earlier “pushback” from some staff, this newspaper has learned.

The hospital’s executive management committee meeting of 31 October had heard reports of reluctance among some staff members about receiving the vaccine. “Uptake of the flu vaccine is now at 60 per cent,” according to meeting minutes seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.

“There is however some pushback from some staff who have refused the vaccine. Nursing are pulling together an information leaflet re myths and facts to promote an increase in uptake.”

In January, MI asked the hospital about the stated reasons for the pushback and whether these involved primarily clinical or administrative staff. The hospital’s spokesperson did not address these questions but said it had taken measures in recent months to improve uptake.

The latest statistics show that 81 per cent of nursing, 74 per cent of medical, and 76 per cent of health and social care staff have been vaccinated. “We are continuing to promote the vaccination via our internal communications networks (especially on TempleNet, our intranet) and from @TempleStreetHos and in face-to-face communications. We hold regular pop-up clinics and we have 21 nurses who staff these clinics on a rota basis,” the hospital’s spokesperson said.

Last November, the Department of Health informed this newspaper there were “no plans to introduce mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers”.

“Vaccination of health service staff is on a voluntary basis and the HSE and staff representative bodies work together to improve the take-up of the influenza vaccine,” according to a Department spokesperson. “The flu vaccine is recommended for all those working in healthcare settings and is available free of charge from occupational health departments. The Minister [for Health Simon Harris] continues to support this initiative and encourages all those who work in our health services and are in regular contact with vulnerable patients to get the influenza vaccine.”

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