S. Manzerolle, Manager, Healthy Schools Department
November 21, 2019
Influenza Season 2019/2020
The WECHU plays a key role in the implementation of the Ministry of Health’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP) which offers influenza vaccine free of charge each year to all individuals six months of age and older who live, work, or attend school in Ontario.
Under the UIIP, the provincial supply of influenza vaccine doses is received from the Ontario Government Pharmacy (OGP) in predetermined increments dependent on vaccine availability and timing from each of the vaccine manufacturers. The WECHU receives influenza vaccine shipments from OGP and is responsible for the distribution to health care providers in the community. Allocation to providers is based on total community allocation, number of clients to be served, past usage by the provider, available fridge space, and the proportion of high-risk clients of the provider. The initial supply of influenza vaccine is prioritized for the immunization of high-risk individuals (i.e. long-term care homes and hospitals). Immunization of the general population commences once the provincial supply is replenished.
In preparation for, and over the course of the influenza season, the WECHU maintains ongoing communication with all providers and pharmacies and relays information about the timelines for vaccine availability. Tailored information packages including vaccine product information, ordering information, and promotional materials are also compiled and distributed to providers by the WECHU each influenza season.
Currently the Health Unit has received about 90% of our total influenza vaccine allocation for the 2019/2020 season. The first large shipment was received at the beginning of October and was distributed to high-risk groups at long term care facilities, retirement homes, and hospitals. In particular, these facilities received 100% of the doses they required for their residents/patients. Health Care Providers (HCPs) received small quantities for their high-risk patients with the first shipment of vaccine.
A second large shipment was received to the Health Unit mid-October and is being used to fill HCP orders in the community. In addition, there are approximately 100 pharmacies in Windsor and Essex County that were approved to provide influenza vaccine to individuals 5 years of age and older.
The WECHU will provide one public influenza clinic at the University of Windsor on November 18, 2019. The clinic provides influenza vaccine free of charge, and an Ontario Health Card is not required; the clinic is open to the public, however targets international students and their families.
In November, 2019 the WECHU will implement a public influenza or ‘flu’ campaign, which will support Immunize Canada’s key messages encouraging individuals and families to get the flu shot. The campaign also includes materials aimed at groups such as health care workers, pregnant women, young children, and those 65 years and older.
Theresa Marentette, CEO