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Health care workers challenged to take the big shot

SIMCOE, DECEMBER 23, 2010 – With flu season in full swing, local health care workers have been challenged to do their part to prevent the spread of the influenza virus, especially to vulnerable populations.

The “Big Shot Challenge,” organized by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, encouraged staff members at hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes to receive their annual flu shots. Each facility was given a goal of having 80% of their health care workers (HCWs) immunized.

Only six of the 21 hospitals, long-term care facilities and retirement homes in Haldimand and Norfolk were able to reach the 80% immunization goal. Parkview Meadows in Townsend was the winner among retirement homes with less than 45 residents, and was also the only facility to have 100% of their HCWs immunized. The institutions in each category with the highest HCW immunization rate received a Sobeys gift card.

Other winners in their respective categories include:

  • Hospital – Hagersville Hospital
  • Long Term Care Home: more than 75 residents – Norfolk Hospital Nursing Home
  • Long Term Care Home: less than 75 residents – Gardenview
  • Retirement Home: More than 45 residents – Delrose

“The challenge is a way to highlight the importance of immunization of health care workers, as it provides benefits to both the HCWs and those they care for,” said Stacey Guthrie, Infection Control Practitioner with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “HCWs who have direct contact with patients or residents should consider it their responsibility to provide the highest standard of care, and an annual influenza vaccination is an essential part of that.”

According to the December 2010 Ontario Burden of Infectious Disease Study report, seasonal influenza causes an estimated 272 deaths each year, as well as 621,151 illnesses requiring medical attention. Influenza has the greatest impact on older age groups, since deaths from influenza are largely among people aged 65 and older.

“We encourage all HCWs, as well as community members, to take the opportunity to get your influenza vaccine each year,” noted Guthrie. “The annual flu shot, combined with cough etiquette and frequent hand-hygiene, are the most effective ways to help protect yourself and others in the community during the flu season.”

Although public flu vaccination clinics are completed for the year, you can still receive a flu shot by scheduling an appointment with your family doctor or by contacting the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623.

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Media contact:
Stacey Guthrie
Infection Control Practitioner
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3270 at either 519.426.6170 or 905.318.6623
stacey.guthrie@hnhu.org