HEU supports voluntary flu vaccination program

Members are encouraged to make an informed choice

AS THE FLU SEASON approaches employees throughout the health care system are once again being asked to participate in the province’s vaccination program.

“We support an education-based, voluntary program, and are encouraging our members to make an informed choice about their participation in it,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, who rolled up his sleeve for his own shot during a recent special clinic held at the union’s provincial office.

Provincial public health officials are hoping most employees will choose the vaccine as a way to protect themselves and their patients from the ever increasing and virulent flu bug, that can be deadly for people with compromised immune systems, as well as the frail elderly.

Recent studies show that up to 25 per cent of non-immunized health-care workers can be infected with influenza during the winter months and that vaccinating more than 60 per cent of staff in a health care facility reduces the risk of death among patients by 40 per cent.

Should workers have medical reasons for not receiving the flu shot, they are reminded to provide the employer with proof of those reasons. If they experience a negative reaction to the shot, it should be reported to the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Members with any questions or concerns about flu shots should contact their shop steward.