CSHB Swine Worker Immunization Pilot Project

by 5m Editor
20 February 2012, at 5:25am

SWITZERLAND - The findings of a Canadian Swine Health Board pilot project, designed to increase the rate of immunization among swine barn workers against season flu, will be discussed next week in Davos, Switzerland, writes Bruce Cochrane.

A Canadian Swine Health Board pilot project conducted on Prince Edward Island during last year's flu season will be among the topics discussed next week during 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, says the goal was to determine whether vaccination rates among swine workers could be increased by making vaccinations more convenient.

Dr Dan Hurnik-University of Prince Edward Island

The seasonal influenza vaccines protect against the strains that are circulating among the human population for influenza.

The Public Health Agency recommends that all people get vaccinated for seasonal influenza primarily to reduce sickness and general public health.

The recommendation that is made by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, for example, and the Canadian Swine Health Board is also that swine workers be protected not only for themselves and for the productivity of the herd but also to protect the pigs.

The benefit of more people becoming vaccinated is the spread of the influenza virus will be slowed.

There'll be fewer people sick, the workforce will be more productive and there'll be fewer cases of the virus jumping over to pigs.

Dr Hurnik reports prior to the pilot project only about 15 percent of swine workers were vaccinated for seasonal influenza, about the same rate as in the general population, but by making vaccinations more convenient that number increased to 50 percent.

He acknowledges roughly half of the workers chose not to be vaccinated so a next step will be to look into the factors that prevent people from being vaccinated.