The Ireland East Hospital Group launches staff flu vaccination campaign and partners with UNICEF to help save lives

22nd October 2020

‘Get a Vaccine Give a Vaccine’ will provide children with life-saving immunisation

A brave little boy is vaccinated by medics in Impfondo, Democratic Republic of Congo © UNICEF/Diefaga

The Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) has launched its 2020-2021 Staff Flu Vaccination Campaign. This year, on account of COVID-19, it has never been more important for healthcare workers to get the flu vaccine and to highlight this message and encourage staff to get vaccinated, IEHG has partnered with UNICEF on their ‘Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine’ initiative.

The ‘Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine’ initiative means that for every flu vaccination given to a staff member, the Ireland East Hospital Group will make a contribution equivalent to UNICEF of vaccinating two children against tetanus. This year therefore, when IEHG staff members avail of the flu vaccine they will not only be protecting themselves and those around them but also protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable children from life-threatening disease.

UNICEF ambassador and best-selling author Cathy Kelly is supporting IEHG’s staff flu vaccine campaign, “Healthcare workers have given us so much, and it’s crucially important we get them the protection they need this winter. We feel sure they will once again step up when we give them yet another opportunity to protect the vulnerable in their own communities, and also in the developing world. Vaccines are helping to end preventable child deaths all over the world. We’re saying to healthcare staff – Get a vaccine, give a vaccine. We’re all in this together. ”

Paul Gallagher, Chief Director of Nursing & Midwifery at the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) said: “The Ireland East Hospital Group is delighted to partner with UNICEF on their ‘Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine’ campaign this year in order to further encourage staff across our 11 hospitals to avail of the flu vaccine.”

As we face into the winter against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, vaccination of healthcare staff against flu – which has similar symptoms to COVID-19 and is transmitted in the same way – has assumed unprecedented importance.

The staff vaccination effort by the Ireland East Hospital Group is part of a national campaign by the HSE to maximise flu vaccination uptake amongst ‘at risk’ groups, which includes over 65s, people with long-term health conditions, and pregnant women, as well as healthcare workers.

IEHG encourages all its staff to get the flu vaccine this year. Staff can avail of the free vaccine through their local hospital vaccination clinics, GP or pharmacy.

The more people vaccinated, the more people we’re protecting.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Muireann Leonard, Digital Content & Communications Officer, Ireland East Hospital Group. 087-6083720 | mleonard@iehg.ie

Notes to Editors

Full Quotes:

Paul Gallagher, Chief Director of Nursing & Midwifery at the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) said: “The Ireland East Hospital Group is delighted to partner with UNICEF on their ‘Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine’ campaign this year in order to further encourage staff across our 11 hospitals to avail of the flu vaccine. This flu season, for every staff member vaccinated against the flu, IEHG will make a contribution equivalent to 8 doses of the tetanus vaccine, ie; the vaccination of two children against tetanus. By getting the flu vaccine this year, IEHG staff members will not only be protecting themselves, their patients, colleagues, families and communities, but also some of the most at-risk and vulnerable children in the developing world.”

Celine Conroy, Flu Lead for the Ireland East Hospital Group said: “World Health Organisation (WHO) officials have stated that getting vaccinated for the flu will be particularly important this year given the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As healthcare staff are considered an at-risk flu group, we are encouraging all hospital staff across our 11 hospital sites to avail of the vaccine as soon as possible. This year’s target has been increased to 75% staff vaccinated, to reflect the HSE National Service Plan, but we hope that hospitals will go even further and exceed this target. It has never been easier for staff to avail of this free, safe and effective vaccine, through their local hospital vaccination clinics, GP or pharmacy.”

UNICEF Ambassador Cathy Kelly said she was thrilled to support the campaign by the Ireland East Hospital Group: “Healthcare workers have given us so much, and it’s crucially important we get them the protection they need this winter. We feel sure they will once again step up when we give them yet another opportunity to protect the vulnerable in their own communities, and also in the developing world. Vaccines are helping to end preventable child deaths all over the world. We’re saying to healthcare staff – Get a vaccine, give a vaccine. We’re all in this together.”

“I’m asking all our fantastic healthcare workers in the Ireland East Hospital Group to get a vaccine to give a vaccine. We need you to lead the way in this. Not only are you protecting yourself – you are also protecting others.”

UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power appealed for the support of IEHG healthcare workers at a time when COVID-19 has caused the shut-down of many immunisation programmes in the developing world:

“UNICEF provides 45% of the world’s vaccines for children under-five because no child should die from a vaccine-preventable disease. Covid-19 caused many of our immunisation programmes to be shut down, and now we desperately need to get those children the life-saving protection they need from deadly diseases like tetanus,” he said.

“UNICEF’s innovative ‘Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine’ programme, gives healthcare staff the best chance of maintaining full health this flu season, as we work on through the Covid-19 pandemic. And, by supporting this programme, you can ensure that children in need receive life-saving vaccines. It’s a win-win,” he added.

About the Ireland East Hospital Group:

The Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) is the largest of Ireland’s hospital groups. Comprising 11 hospitals (6 voluntary and 5 statutory), IEHG spans seven counties and works with four Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) partners. In collaboration with

our Academic Partner, UCD, IEHG’s ambition is to be the national leader in healthcare delivery, working to improve the quality of healthcare and deliver better patient outcomes through education, training, research and innovation for the 1.1 million people we serve.

Ireland East Hospital Group: Mater Misericordiae University Hospital; St Vincent’s University Hospital; Regional Hospital Mullingar; St Luke’s General Hospital, Carlow/Kilkenny; Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan; Wexford General Hospital; St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown; St Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire; National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh; National Maternity Hospital; Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF, follow us on Twitter and Facebook

About Tetanus

Tetanus is a painful, often fatal disease. Bacteria found in the soil or manure release a toxin and cause painful muscle spasms and lockjaw. The effects spread causing convulsions, breathing difficulties and abnormal heart rhythms. (Source: www.hse.ie)

About Flu

While the battle against COVID-19 continues, it is important to remember that flu is a very serious illness, and that up to 500 people die from the virus in Ireland every year. Healthcare workers are at increased risk of infection from flu. Almost 20% of healthcare workers in this country are infected every year. Over the past 60 years, the flu vaccine has proven a safe and effective protection from flu for millions of people.