Pilot Project Generates Global Interest

by 5m Editor
1 March 2012, at 8:26am

CANADA - The Canadian Swine Health Board reports a pilot project which attempted to increase the rate of immunization against seasonal influenza among swine workers is generating global interest, Bruce Cochrane writes.

A pilot project conducted on Prince Edward island during last year's flu season to determine if making seasonal flu shots more convenient would result in an increased immunization rate, was discussed last week during the GRF One Health Summit 2012 in Davos, Switzerland.

Prior to the program about 15 per cent of swine workers were vaccinated, about the same as in the general population, but by making vaccinations more convenient that number climbed to 50 per cent.

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 there was a clear recognition that this is an example of one health where, by vaccinating people we can prevent people from getting sick, they stay more healthy and productive and we can reduce the risk of pathogens affecting pigs.

Dr Dan Hurnik-Canadian Swine Health Board

I think the significance of this work for the pig industry is that, in terms of recognizing that there is a role between animals and people in managing disease, it certainly shows by the uptake of the farm workers that the pig industry is willing to come forward and do its share in helping to prevent disease and the only barrier really is the convenience of having a nurse being able to give the vaccine.

So in future years, where we're looking to increase the rate of vaccination, if we can make the vaccine more convenient by in larger farms having the nurse come out or having the seasonal flu shot available at regular farm meetings and so on in advance of the season I think we can create this win-win scenario on a larger scale all around the world.

Dr Hurnik says, in future years, researchers would like to explore other factors that prevent people from getting seasonal flu shots.

5m Editor