Brits in the North West playing 'Russian roulette' with flu jab

Date published: 19 October 2018

British workers in the North West are playing ‘Russian roulette’ with flu after nearly eight in ten employees said they would clock on even though they are still ill.

Guilt, fear of being judged and not having enough paid sick days mean 78% of workers in the North West would still turn up for work even if they had the flu.

As a result, three in five (62%) workers in the region say they have caught a cold at work, while a 13% say they have caught the flu from colleagues who have turned up sick.

And six in ten (61%) North West parents with kids under 16 say their children have not yet been vaccinated, according to a survey for ASDA Pharmacy.

Dr Hilary Jones said: “Brits need to stop playing Russian roulette with flu – it is an extremely serious illness and, as such needs to be taken extremely seriously.

“Going to work while still ill may seem like the noble thing to do but all it does is delay your recovery and infect those around you.

“And parents should think seriously about getting their children vaccinated – it is easy for kids to pass on flu to their grandparents, who are particularly vulnerable to the disease.”

Thirty-seven per cent of Brits surveyed in the North West said they would not have the flu jab this winter.

Three in ten (29%) of those in the region who will not have the jab said they simply have not considered it while 21% think it does not affect them and never have vaccinations.

A third (32%) of workers in the North West say they do not get paid for sick days taken off work, meaning they can lose £62 a day in income for each day they are off.

Nearly half (43%) of workers surveyed say they only get a limited number of paid sick days each year and feel they cannot afford to come in to work.

Sixteen per cent of those say their sick day allowance is just five days a year, meaning many feel they have to come into work before they have fully recovered.

The most common reason for workers in the North West coming in with a cold or the flu was feeling guilty about taking time off (38%).

A fifth (22%) worry about work piling up, three in ten (29%) say there is no-one else to cover their workload and 13% are worried their boss or colleagues would judge them for taking time off.

Among parents of children aged under 16 in the North West who have not had the flu jab, most (53%) say they will not have the vaccination at all.

This is despite the fact that 60% of under-16s will see grandparents or elderly relatives every week during the winter and 13% will see them every day - putting the vulnerable older generation at increased risk of developing the flu.

Asda pharmacist Maq Din said: “Having a flu jab not only protects you against flu, it protects your whole family and the wider community.

“Flu is contagious and it can be passed through coughing, sneezing or by touching contaminated surfaces.

“Most flu outbreaks usually happen in late autumn or winter so now is the time to take action and book your appointment as it takes around 14 to 21 days to be protected against flu.

“Over time, protection from the injected flu vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains often change, so new flu vaccines are produced each year, which is why people advised to have the flu vaccine need it every year too.”

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