Influenza immunization is a Patient Safety issue and an Occupational Health and Safety issue. Increased staff immunization rates, along with increased resident/patient immunization has been shown to be an effective method of decreasing the risk of influenza infection and transmission in health care facilities. Both non-immunized staff and non-immunized residents/patients can act as vectors for influenza transmission, so by increasing influenza immunization rates, the risk is decreased!
This year the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has issued an Influenza Immunization Challenge to all hospitals and long-term care facilities in the Simcoe Muskoka region. The goals of the challenge are:
- To enhance staff and resident/patient influenza immunization rates
- To provide public recognition for the facilities that achieve high (or greatly improved) immunization rates
At OSMH we are committed to reaching our target of 70% immunization rate of all staff, physicians, students and volunteers that provide care to our patients.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) states:
"Influenza vaccination of health care workers is 'standard of care' for the protection of their patients"
"refusal of health care workers who have direct patient contact to be immunized against influenza implies failure in their duty of care to patients" (CCDR, August 2010 Volume 36)
The Ontario Hospital Association and the Ontario Medical Association state:
"Health care workers and their employers have a duty to actively promote, implement, and comply with influenza immunization recommendations in order to decrease the risk of infection and complications in the vulnerable populations" (OHA/OMA Influenza Surveillance Protocol May 2010)