Data tracker finds low uptake of flu vaccine in social care
Social care workers in the UK are being urged to have a flu vaccination to avoid a “potential deadly winter tidal wave of respiratory conditions”. This follows estimates from the Taskforce for Lung Health data tracker which say . By comparison, 74.3% of healthcare workers are vaccinated.
The UK government has announced millions of people will be given the flu vaccine for free this year, naming it “the most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in the UK’s history”. The free vaccine will be made available to more than 30 million people this autumn and winter, millions more than received it last year.
For the first time the flu vaccine will be available free for people aged 50 to 64, along with households of those on the shielded patient list, all school year groups up to year 7, all people aged over 65, pregnant women, and those with some pre-existing conditions including at-risk under 2s. All frontline health and social care workers are also entitled to the free vaccine.
Meanwhile respiratory charities in England are urging social care bosses to encourage their staff to have the vaccination. Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation have written to 29 of the country's biggest social care organisations to warn about the impact of flu in the social care setting this year if it is coupled with a second wave of COVID-19.
Care homes were heavily impacted by COVID-19 when the virus was at its peak, and it’s feared the low uptake of the vaccine among staff could cause a deadly second wave.
The Taskforce for Lung Health, a consortium of 35 including patients, health care professionals, charities and professional associations, launched the data tracker in 2019. It was created to provide a streamlined set of statistics on respiratory conditions - information which so far had been split across different organisations. The tracker makes it easier to identify gaps in data sets, and inform the Taskforce’s five year plan for lung health. Data is gathered in-house, analysed and then turned into easy to digest visuals and stories to inform people with lung disease and the general public.
Alison Cook, director of external affairs at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, and chair of the Taskforce for Lung Health, said: “The social care sector have already been devastated by the pandemic and we know how hard staff are working up and down the country.
“This winter could see the biggest test of our time. As many eligible people as possible need to get the flu jab to avoid a potential deadly tidal wave of respiratory conditions over the coming months which could overwhelm the NHS. Prevention is vital in protecting the most vulnerable in our society, so we urge all social care employers to do everything they can to make the flu jab a priority."
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”