Staff Flu Vaccination Campaigns in 2016 and 2017
NHS trusts are required to inoculate around three out of four of their clinical staff against flu. This not only protects them but also patients and would secure bonus payments of around £300,000 for hitting the target.
East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) had only around 21 per cent of staff vaccinated and a historically strong resistance among staff to receiving the vaccine.
The NHS’s traditional flu buster campaign wasn’t cutting through and so it needed something different. A number of concepts were tried with staff and in the first year the one chosen was where staff were portrayed as Marvel Comic character super heroes – as flu fighters!
A poll of staff found they were cynical about the efficacy of the vaccine and the need to have it, especially clinicians working with mental rather than physical health.
For the first few weeks we ran a myth-busting campaign centered around each myth: ‘All patients are at risk’; ‘Flu is a serious illness’; ‘You’re better protected with the flu jab’ and ‘You can’t catch flu from the vaccine’. This was supported by dedicated intranet pages, daily news stories, video messages and a social media campaign.
The vaccination campaign kicked off with the chief executive getting her jab, followed by regular updates on how each team was doing to create a friendly competitive spirit, letters home from the CEO stressing the importance of the staff, wipe clean posters where daily clinics could be written and text messages to staff business phones. Those jabbed were given stickers and branded chocolates and for every vaccination, a child was inoculated through UNESCO. The best performing vaccinators and teams were given branded prizes, including Golf umbrellas.
The second year built on the successful cartoon imagery with a ghost-buster theme which morphed into flu busters.
In 2016, ELFT was the most improved NHS Trust with around 70 per cent of staff vaccinated, a performance repeated the following year. Evaluation carried out afterwards found that most respondents recalled seeing the materials. The cost for each campaign was less than £10,000, with a rate of return of 3000 per cent!