Boosting Immunisation Rate for Seasonal Flu

by 5m Editor
15 February 2012, at 1:53am

CANADA - A Canadian Swine Health Board pilot project has found, by making seasonal influenza vaccinations more convenient, the immunization rate can be dramatically increased, writes Bruce Cochrane.

During last year's flu season the Canadian Swine Health Board conducted a pilot project on Prince Edward Island to determine whether the number of swine barn workers vaccinated against seasonal influenza could be increased by making vaccinations more convenient.

Results of that study will be discussed next week in Davos, Switzerland as part of the GRF One Health Summit 2012.

Dr Dan Hurnik, the chair of the Canadian Swine Health Board's Long Term Disease Risk Management Committee and a member of the faculty of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, explains a public nurse traveled to farms at their convenience to administer the vaccinations.

Dr Dan Hurnik-Canadian Swine Health Board

There is a recommendation that people in general be vaccinated against seasonal influenza but also particularly swine workers should be vaccinated because there are some strains that can go from people to pigs.

Vaccinating the swine workers will reduce that likelihood and protect the pigs so the question was, "how many farmers and swine workers are getting vaccinated and what are some of the hindrances to that happening?"

We found that, prior to the program, only about 15 per cent of swine workers were vaccinated for seasonal influenza which is about the same as the rate in the general population.

By making the vaccine more accessible, more convenient, we raised that number from 15 per cent to 50 per cent of the workers that did get vaccinated so that's a significant increase in the number of people protected.

Dr Hurnik suggests the study tells us many who don't get vaccinated are doing that simply because it's not convenient so by making it more convenient we can significantly increase the rate of immunization.