Care home staff are to be involved in a new UEA project to increase the number of staff taking the flu vaccine.
In a £1.4 million scheme backed by the National Institute for Health Research, UEA researchers are looking at ways to encourage care home staff to take the flu vaccine. The FluCare project hosted by NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group will also include collaborations with the universities of Leicester and Liverpool and organisations such as the National Care Program, Boots UK, and Day-Lewis Pharmacy among others.
UEA School of Pharmacy’s Prof David Wright has suggested the three reasons hindering vaccine uptake are: staff’s accessibility to vaccines, the level of importance, or lack thereof, that managers ascribe to vaccination, in addition to the personal beliefs of staff.
Wright also asserted: “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.”
The research team plan to investigate approaches such as offering incentives to managers and community pharmacists vaccinating staff in care homes.
They aim to test these approaches to ten care homes across the country during flu season with the hope to increase this number to 70 care homes with low vaccination levels.
Dr Amrish Patel from UEA’s School of Economics said: “we will use our findings to develop a toolkit. This will tell people about our new service and encourage them to use it. While we do this research, we will work closely with residents and relatives. They will help us design and manage the studies, collect information, look at the results and present them to the outside world.”