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Can J Infect Control. 2008 Winter;23(4):222-5, 227.

Influenza campaign 2006 and 2007: a residential care success story.

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Continuing Care, Vancouver Island Health Authority South.



On July 7, 2000, the BC Ministry of Health announced a comprehensive influenza campaign for British Columbia (BC). The Ministry's goals were: to reduce illness and death associated with influenza in the most vulnerable populations; to reduce predictable preventable additional pressures on the health care system that occur during influenza season; and to achieve an 80% immunization rate in health care workers. Since 2000, the staff influenza numbers continue to remain around 45%, with a number of identified influenza outbreaks. Saanich Peninsula Hospital (SPH), a 150-bed extended care unit, challenged their staff to improve and sustain their immunization numbers to 80% for the protection of their residents.


In response, SPH developed an integrated influenza management plan. The plan focused on an enhanced ability to prevent and control influenza. This would involve a targeted immunization campaign for high-risk groups, including enhanced ability to quickly identify outbreaks, and to implement control measures. SPH along with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, south island (VIHA-si), used a campaign that involved the development of staff policies around influenza immunization and outbreak management, an enhanced media campaign, incentive program for staff and refinement of protocols for quick access and testing of isolates during an outbreak.


There was an increase in influenza awareness both among health care workers and the general public. In SPH extended care staff there was 115% increase in staff immunization rates over the 2005 campaign. A 90% immunization rate among residents in residential care facilities was seen. There were no reported outbreaks of influenza in residential care facility within the SPH during the 2006 and 2007 influenza seasons.


Despite the increase in immunization rates among health care workers, in general, the overall rate within the health authority remains low. The success of the SPH extended care campaign may have been a result of the climate of the facility and the commitment of the manager and key staff to the initiative. Future campaigns will be directed to the entire facility, including acute care. It will be interesting to see if these immunization numbers can be sustained in other areas.


In order to be successful, influenza immunization campaigns must involve management and numerous departments. Early planning is important and must start as soon as the previous year's campaign concludes. A key component to any plan is communication, staff incentives and staffbeliefin the program. The success or failure of a plan is dependant on the message about immunization that gets out to the at-risk populations. This will continue to be a key component of future influenza campaigns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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