Monthly Board Report - April 2001
Flu Campaign 2001: 60,964 Residents Immunized for Influenza in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark
Submitted by Jane Futcher, Director of Clinical Services
On March 8, 2001, the Board of Health celebrated the success of the 2000-2001 Influenza Campaign. The health care partners involved in the campaign were recognized for their efforts and contributions to the campaign.
One of the most important populations targeted for influenza immunization is those who care for the elderly and infirm, living in long-term care facilities, nursing and retirement homes. Again this season, the staff of these care facilities surpassed the ministry's goal of a 70% immunization rate. This was due to the on-going efforts of the facilities' administrators and infection control officers. In total the long term care facilities (and acute care hospitals) immunized 7,564 staff and residents in the Tri-County: 4,545 in Leeds and Grenville and 3,019 in Lanark.
Location of Immunization Sites
One of the major findings of the survey completed last summer, was that the preferred site for immunization was the physician's office. Sixty -one percent of the population reported (in the survey) that they would prefer to be immunized in their physician's office. Dr. Gardner held community meetings with the physicians in Leeds, Grenville and in Lanark last fall, to review the survey and its implications for their practices and to involve them in the influenza campaign. The physicians and three Community Health Centres immunized 30,329 residents: 21,313 in Leeds and Grenville and 18,016 in Lanark.
Nine of the larger employers in the Tri-County held their own flu-shot clinics, immunizing a total of 2,072 employees through their own occupational health programs/nurses or with the help of the local nursing agencies and the VON.
This has been a very mild flu season. In all of Canada there were 3,189 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza this year as opposed to 6,749 cases last year, and in Ontario there were 433 cases this year compared to 2,772 cases last year.
During the 1999 – 2000 flu season, Ontario residents represented 41 % of Canada’s influenza cases. One would expect that, as the population hasn’t changed significantly over the past year, Ontario would have had 41% of this years cases: 1,310. Yet the Ontario numbers are significantly lower. During the 2000-2001 influenza season Ontario residents represented only 13.5 % of the influenza cases in Canada. This suggests the Ontario influenza vaccination program was successful in reducing cases by over two thirds.
As of March 20, in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark we have had no institutional outbreaks compared to eight last year and we have had only one confirmed case of Influenza A. Can we attribute this to the successful immunization campaign? Other factors have come into play, but the credit for our healthy population is due to the efforts of all health care providers in the Tri-County.