Flu jab warning for people to stop playing ‘Russian roulette’ with the illness

Flu jabs are free to some patients at the beginning of October.
Flu jabs are free to some patients at the beginning of October.

Workers are said to be playing ‘Russian roulette’ with flu after nearly seven in ten employees said they would clock on even though they are still ill.

Guilt, fear of work piling up, and not having enough paid sick days mean 67 per cent of employees in the south east would still turn up for work even if they had the flu – according to a survey.

As a result, three in five (60 per cent) workers in the region say they have caught a cold at work, while a quarter say they have caught the flu from colleagues who have turned up sick.

And more than half (56 per cent) parents with kids under 16 in the south-east say their children have not yet been vaccinated, according to a survey for ASDA Pharmacy by Atomik Research.

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.”

Two-fifths (40 per cent) of Brits surveyed in the south-east said they would not have the flu jab this winter.

A quarter (28 per cent) of those who will not have the jab said they simply have not considered it, 17 per cent think it does not affect them and 18 per cent never have vaccinations.

A third (33 per cent) of workers in the south-east 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.

A third (33 per cent) of workers surveyed in the south east say they only get a limited number of paid sick days each year and feel they cannot afford to come in to work.

A quarter (26 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 south east coming in with a cold or the flu was feeling guilty about taking time off (236 per cent).

Eighteen per cent worry about work piling up and say there is no-one else to cover their workload.

Among parents of children aged under 16 in the south-east who have not had the flu jab, half (50 per cent) say they will not have the vaccination at all.

This is despite the fact 36 per cent of under-16s will see grandparents or elderly relatives every week during the winter and 16 per cent 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 Asda 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.”