London nurses' H1N1 vaccinations 'at 33 percent,' NHS says

LONDON — Just one in three nurses in London has been vaccinated against the H1N1 flu, the National Health Service has admitted.

Information uncovered by BBC London has shown that the majority of medical staff remains unprotected against the virus, the news agency reported Jan. 21.

Although H1N1 flu rarely kills healthy adults, it is dangerous to many patients in hospitals.

NHS London insisted the vaccine take-up was "encouraging" and rising, with more than 60,000 staff having had the vaccination.

But figures seen by BBC London reveal the vaccinations have reached a plateau, with a limited increase in the numbers of staff to have been vaccinated over the last month.

In mid-December, a total of 33 percent of frontline staff — including dentists and paramedics — had been vaccinated.

By Jan. 18 that figure had risen to 40 percent.

Currently, 38 percent of London's general practitioners and 45 percent of other doctors, such as hospital consultants, have received the vaccination.

Yet the take-up rates among NHS London staff appear to contradict the organization's own advice.

Speaking in December, NHS London's head of pandemic flu, Dr. Chloe Sellwood, said: "The vaccine is our best defense against the virus and that is why we are encouraging as many people as possible to take it."