Staff at the Southern Health Trust are being offered what is being described as a “bribe” in order to take the winter flu jab.
The Trust is encouraging its staff get the winter flu vaccine – offering them entry to a ballot for two days extra of paid leave.
Uptake has been just over 16 per cent since the current vaccination drive began at the beginning of this October.
The Public Health Agency is the body responsible for overseeing the campaign, encouraging staff to get the flu jab.
The news was met with a largely negative wave of comments from residents.
One person said: “Is this for real….. myself, nor my children get the flu vaccine but if you have to ‘bribe’ people to get it, there’s room for questions…honestly I wish people would see through all this!”
Another said: “I’m absolutely shocked by this!!!! Surely this is unethical?!? Trying to bribe staff to have vaccines!!!”
One commented: “This is completely outrageous. To try to bribe staff into taking an unproven vaccine is totally unethical. As a health care professional I can’t believe a trust would do this… crazy.”
“Wow. Yuk.,” said one woman. “You’ve heard of informed consent, right? You don’t bribe people to get vaccines if you want to retain any credibility at all.”
“Would love to know the stats for sick leave in the weeks after they do receive it,” said one person.
A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “As care providers, we have a duty to promote the seasonal flu campaign and encourage our staff, in particular frontline staff to protect themselves, their patients, clients and families by getting the flu vaccination.
“Throughout the month of October health and social care workers can attend drop-in Flu vaccination clinics across the Trust. Vaccinators are also visiting Wards and Departments to make it more convenient for those staff who have difficulty attending a clinic.
“As a result of staff feedback, in recent years we have organised a prize draw for staff as an incentive for getting their flu vaccine.
“The Southern Trust has a total of 11,441 members of staff and it is encouraging that 16.50% (1888) of these have already received their flu vaccine in the first fortnight of our campaign.”
For more information on the staff flu vaccination programme, click here.
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