“Frontline health-care workers across Ontario — and especially in Toronto — are endangering their patients by neglecting to obtain a flu shot. If anyone should know better, it’s these people. And their failure is inexcusable.
The latest data are in a report going to the Toronto Board of Health on Tuesday, and it reveals a situation that’s getting worse, not better. According to health experts, at least 70 per cent of health-care workers should be vaccinated annually against influenza. But figures for the most recent 2010-2011 flu season show that Toronto’s acute-care hospitals are barely halfway there, with a median staff immunization rate of just 37 per cent. The rate is 42 per cent for similar facilities across Ontario.
That’s the lowest rate in the past four years, both in Toronto and across the province. Rather than waking up to the danger posed by influenza spreading in an acute-care setting and taking effective steps to reduce that risk, the province, hospital administrators and health-care workers are failing to protect the public.
Not all are at fault, of course. Thousands of responsible hospital workers get their shots each year. And some major Toronto hospitals do far better than others. For example, the University Health Network’s Toronto Western Hospital registered a staff immunization rate of 65 per cent, followed by Toronto General Hospital with 60 per cent. But some of the city’s largest hospitals — including Mount Sinai and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre — had just 35 per cent or lower.
Ordinary Ontarians did better, with 38 per cent of the population getting a flu shot this season….”
Of course, the position of the Star’s editorial writer is that these health care workers had better start doing their duty by getting vaccinated, or else maybe they’ll be forced to do so by legislation.
Didn’t they try forcing health care workers to get vaccinated in New York a couple of years ago, on threat of losing their jobs, and it just ended up providing more publicity for the fact that so many health care workers are not buying the official assurances that the vaccine in question was safe and effective.
I don’t know how the Star editorial writer can not realize that this is not a matter of laziness, it’s a matter of a lack of confidence in the drug companies and their products, from people who’ve had more than the usual amount of experience seeing how these kind of drugs work out for others.