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Ontario’s public health agency is calling for the flu shot to be mandatory for all health-care workers in the province, urging it to be a condition of employment in hospitals, nursing homes, home care or in any kind of community setting.
Public Health Ontario changed its best practice guidelines last week because voluntary use of the annual influenza vaccine has not been as high as the agency would like. The average vaccination rate for health-care workers in the province is stuck below 60 per cent. “It is a great privilege to be able to serve in health care in this country. With privilege comes responsibility,” said Dr. Mary Vearncombe, chair of the agency’s infectious diseases advisory committee. “The way to provide the safest care with regard to influenza is to be immunized.”
British Columbia recently legislated that health-care workers get immunized or wear masks while treating patients. But Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews has said she is not considering mandatory immunizations at this time. “We are, however, targeting front line health-care workers to increase vaccination rates.”
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