|Reports & Publications - Annual Report 1999
Thousands Immunized Against the Flu Virus
Immunization is recognized as the single most effective way of preventing influenza (flu) for those at high-risk for serious illness and death. As the effectiveness of immunization in the elderly is only 40-50 %, the best way to protect this vulnerable population is through the immunization of their caregivers. Research has shown that immunization of staff in long term care facilities reduces influenza-related deaths by 41%. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care set a goal for staff immunization at 70%. In previous years, the overall staff immunization rate for these facilities in the tri-county was less than 33%.
In September, Health Unit staff held an information session for health care workers. They also made 24 presentations to staff at various facilities and supported or helped with immunization clinics in these facilities, immunizing about 300 health care workers. The Board of Health honoured these 25 facilities for achieving the Ministry’s rate of 70%, with the average being 85 %.
Another campaign was carried out with local residents. There are close to 23,500 residents in the tri-county who are 65 years of age or older. The Health Unit’s staff vaccinated over 1,500 elderly people in 30 flu clinics. Community physicians also immunized nearly 25,000 elderly or at-risk clients. The Health Unit dispensed 33,500 vaccines to hospitals, institutions, clinics and physicians to help them immunize their patients.
As a result of this campaign, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties have had far fewer illnesses or outbreaks related to the flu that have occurred in other areas of the province. This is an achievement to be celebrated by all our community partners.