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James Brown

Health Worker Flu Campaigns - 1950s campaign

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In June 2016 we presented to the Annual Influenza Meeting on the successful Health Worker Vaccination campaigns that we had delivered. 


Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust (LCH) traditionally had relatively low vaccination take-up for flu. In 2012 only around 40% of staff received their vaccinations - a figure significantly below national NHS targets.

In response, we developed an effective internal staff engagement and communications campaign that would help convey key messages about the importance of having the vaccination to staff in order to protect themselves, their patients and their colleagues from infection, and would also support increased staff take up for the vaccination.

Key Objectives:

  • Increase staff awareness of the importance of being immunised to protect themselves, their colleagues and their patients from the flu, as part of ongoing Trust-wide care quality  improvements

  • Positively engage with a ‘change-weary’ workforce to promote a positive attitude towards having the vaccination

  • Dispel common myths amongst staff about the vaccinations being painful or ‘unsafe’

  • Support an increase in staff take-up and achieve the Trust’s ambitious target of 70% staff immunisation for Winter 2012/13.


The strategy for our campaigns was closely informed by findings from previous years, which highlighted two major challenges to overcome in effectively communicating with staff:

  • Engaging a large, geographically dispersed workforce

LCH’s 3,500 workforce is dispersed across 100+ locations in Merseyside, with many staff working in frontline healthcare roles based in the community, being non-desk-based and working shifts. The strategy was therefore focused around making the campaign as flexible, mobile, and multi-channelled as possible - ensuring all staff had opportunity to see, hear and respond to the campaign message.

  • Encouraging busy healthcare staff to undergo a non-mandatory vaccination

The strategy for supporting behaviour change amongst staff was to create a comic campaign that would look/feel light-hearted, rather than ‘lecturing’ staff, and which used real staff members which resonated more and created a genuine talking point amongst employees. 

Methods/tactics deployed:

The resulting campaign featured real staff and Board members based in 1950’s style scenarios, accompanied by comic captions, gently poking fun at the common reasons why staff members avoid having the flu jab.

The key tactics deployed were as follows:

Campaign launch – All members of the Trust Board leading by example and being photographed having their flu jabs during a Board Meeting to kick start the campaign

Print – The eye-catching campaign creatives were displayed on posters were displayed throughout all of the Trust’s buildings, and postcards were attached to all staff payslips, helping to ensure that everyone received the message at least once.

Digital screen savers – The various creative executions were also rotated on all Trust screensavers, provoking discussion and amusement between staff members as they began to spot their colleagues ‘starring’ in the campaign 

Staff Intranet - Regular campaign updates were posted via the staff intranet, staff blog, and weekly e-bulletin to help maintain campaign momentum.

Flu Champions & Toolkit - A team of ‘flu champions’ were trained to promote the campaign’s key messages in targeted services across the Trust, armed with a ‘flu fighter toolkit’ of resources

Flu Coordinator’ - This dedicated role was introduced for the first time to help the Trust monitor progress, identify any teams/locations where take up was particularly low, and respond by focusing extra resources

Drop in Sessions - a flexible timetable of immunisation sessions were offered in different staff buildings so that staff could plan to receive their flu vaccination at a time/location of convenience to them

Team Immunisations - The campaign integrated with day-to-day ‘business’ wherever possible, and immunisations sessions were planned to coincide with existing team meetings and briefings, with many nursing teams agreeing to immunise one another.

Viral film - A hilarious, short viral film was also released internally which mimicked an old-fashioned Government public health broadcast featuring the Trust’s Chief Executive and Director of Finance urging staff to be immunised

PR & social media - The campaign was publicised through local media and the Trust’s Twitter feed as additional ways to reach-out to staff working in community settings.


Success was measured based on staff take up rates. Data on staff immunisations was captured and inputted into a central system daily, with progress being reported to the Executive team on a weekly basis and to local commissioners on a monthly basis.

The campaign successfully achieved a 71.6% take up rate. This figure vastly exceeded the Trust’s flu immunisation targets from commissioners (55%), as well as its own internal target of 70% (set in line with national DH targets).

It has also closely supported LCH’s target to reduce staff sickness absence rates,  in enabling staff to more effectively protect their vulnerable patients from flu, and helped bring together a dispersed workforce fostering a greater sense of community.


Total spend: £3,500 (Including design agency fees, print costs, and photography) 


WHO & ECDC Flu Presentation Budapest 16.ppt

LCH Flu Postcards Final.pdf

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