Push on for more health workers to get flu shot

Less than 40 per cent of health-care workers in Montreal got a flu shot last year. Public health hopes to double that number this year.
Only 40 per cent of Montrealers considered to be in high-risk groups got the flu shot last year, according to public health officials. (CBC)

Montreal’s public health agency is trying to encourage more health-care workers and those in high-risk groups to get the annual flu vaccine.

Last year, fewer than 40 per cent of Montreal health-care workers received the vaccine. The agency is hoping to double that number this year.

Director Dr. Terry-Nan Tannenbaum said that statistic shows why it's critical that caregivers are vaccinated.

High-risk groups

  • People with compromised immune systems and those with chronic diseases.
  • Young children.
  • Anyone over the age of 60.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Health-care workers.
  • Family members and caregivers of anyone considered "high-risk."

In 2010, there were more than 150 flu outbreaks in Quebec — most in long-term care facilities.

"By protecting themselves from getting the disease, they don't transmit the disease to their patients," Tannenbaum said.

Every year, about one in six Montrealer get the flu, according to the agency. Thousands are hospitalized and hundreds die from complications related the flu.

José Arch, an operating room technician at CHUM's Notre Dame Pavilion, said he hasn’t got a flu shot yet this year, but intends to.

"In life, I think being protected, it’s always better," Arch said.

Tannenbaum said most health-care settings have campaigns to make it easy for them to get the flu shot.