|Reports & Publications - Annual Report 2002 - 2003
Influenza Update: 2002/03 Season
Millions of residents enjoyed the benefits for a flu-free winter in 2002. For the second consecutive year Ontario was the only jurisdiction in North America to offer its residents free flu shots. Each year approximately 20,000 people in Ontario are hospitalized as a result of influenza. The complications from having the flu result in the death of between 500 and 1,500 Canadians each year. Getting the flu can also lead to lost time at work and an inconvenience to family members over the holiday season. Employees who are immunized provide a cost savings to the tune of $37.00 per employee per day as well as lost time at work. In the tri-county area health unit staff held 33 flu clinics through the months of October to December 2002 and immunized a total of 10,205 residents. Of that total 2,920 were between the ages of 6 months and 19 years. The balance of 7,285 was the adult population.
Flu immunization rates for health care workers have improved significantly over the years. The numbers of employees in long term care facilities that have received a flu shot have increased to reach an average of over 86% of staff. In 2002, the health unit received 99 laboratory confirmed cased of influenza. In these numbers 5 were children and 90% of these individuals had not received flu vaccine.