Almost one-third more front-line NHS staff had flu vaccinations during autumn 2013 compared with 2013, according to figures from Public Health England.
The statistics showed 318,335 front-line NHS staff were vaccinated between 1 September and 31 October 2013.
This was 75,575 (31%) more than the 242,760 staff vaccinated in the same period last year, it added.
The figures were welcomed by NHS Employers, which runs the national “flu fighter” campaign to support and increase staff vaccinations.
Dean Royles, NHS Employers’ chief executive, said: “This is a great start to the season. Vaccinating more than 5,000 staff a day is no mean feat, and as a result it’s very likely that record numbers of NHS staff will have flu vaccinations this year.
“Staff are recognising [the vaccine’s] role in protecting themselves and their patients and are starting to make it the norm.”
The figures showed the proportion of NHS front-line staff in England choosing to be vaccinated increased from 34.7% in 2011 when the campaign began, to 45.6% for the entire flu season of 2012/13.
The latest figures for September-October 2013 showed 35% of staff were already vaccinated, compared with 28.4% in September-October 2012.
The Royal College of Nursing also welcomed the news, with Helen Donovan, public health nursing adviser, adding: “It is fantastic to hear that more front-line staff are taking this important step to help themselves, patients, family and colleagues.”
In a separate development, figures from NHS Protect, the new name for the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service, have suggested that the number of criminal sanctions following reported assaults on NHS staff rose by 201 in 2012/13, from 1,257 to 1,458, a rise of 15.9%.
It added that, overall, there was a rise of 5.8% in total reported assaults, from 59,744 in 2011/12 to 63,199 in 2012/13.
New guidance on how to prevent and manage challenging behaviour related to a patient’s clinical condition was also launched in December.