Working Life: 'Vaccination is the best protection against flu'

Sinéad Horgan is assistant director of nursing: sepsis, surgical site infection and flu lead, South/South West Hospital Group
Working Life: 'Vaccination is the best protection against flu'

Sinead Horgan

5.30am

My working day starts. Winter is creeping in and my role as influenza lead, which is to promote the uptake of the flu vaccine, is in full swing. Flu is a highly infectious acute respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus which can affect people of any age.

7.30am

Check-in and manage any issues in the Covid-19 swabbing clinic for patients and staff in St Mary’s Health Campus where I have been redeployed since March. Similar to Covid-19, you can pass the flu virus to somebody you care for even before you know that you are sick. Vaccination is the best protection against flu.

9.30am

Planning meeting in Cork University Hospital with the Influenza Vaccine Planning Group. Managing vaccination clinics this year is proving more challenging due to social distancing. However it is still vitally important for healthcare staff to receive the vaccine to stop the spread of flu, particularly as some ‘at-risk groups’ can develop severe complications from the virus. Healthcare workers can help prevent the spread and save lives by getting the flu vaccine.

11am

A teleconference with Cork/Kerry Community Healthcare planning for the upcoming season across all healthcare sectors. As at least 20% of healthcare workers are infected with flu every year, it is essential that staff are vaccinated. This is achieved through occupational health and peer vaccination programmes whereby nurses and midwives vaccinate their colleagues at accessible dates, times and locations.

2pm

Meeting my colleagues in South East Community Healthcare to ensure plans are in place for all healthcare staff to have access to the vaccine.

The best way to protect you, your patients and your family is to get this year’s vaccine.

6pm

Head home to my husband Denis and daughters Emily (21), Fiona (17) and Jane (14). I get the flu vaccine every year as I do not want to put my family at risk. Many people who get flu might only have mild symptoms and continue to work thus exposing others to the virus. That is why I am a peer vaccinator to help protect myself and those around me and to support others to do the same.

  • For more information on the flu vaccine and how to get it, see: www.hse.ie/flu

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