Hospital staff across the west of Ireland are supporting UNICEF’s vaccination campaign to eliminate polio globally in the ‘Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine’ campaign.
For every member of staff at the Saolta Group who gets the flu vaccine this winter season, the groups will make a donation to vaccinate a child against polio.
This supports UNICEF in their work towards global polio eradication which includes Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last two countries where the wild polio virus continues to spread and cause paralysis among children.
Paul Hooton, Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Saolta, and lead for the rollout of the staff flu vaccination campaign, said that they are delighted to take part in this initiative once again.
“I strongly encourage all members of staff to get their flu vaccine early so that they are protected as soon as possible. The flu vaccine provides protection for our staff, our patients and our families.”
The past year has brought home the importance of vaccination in protecting people from “serious and potentially deadly” diseases, he added.
UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power said that this support is crucial at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has “heavily disrupted” childhood vaccination efforts in the developing world.
“UNICEF provides 45% of the world’s vaccines for children under five. We do this because no child should die from a vaccine preventable disease.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put existing childhood vaccination programmes at risk, and now we desperately need to get children the critical protection they need from life-threatening diseases like polio,” he said.
“UNICEF Ireland’s ‘Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine’ campaign 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.