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The Government of Ontario says, on average, 10 to 20 percent of Canadians get the flu each year. The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates 2,000 to 8,000 of those with the flu will die of flu-related complications. And, the flu costs the Canadian economy $1 billion annually in lost productivity and increased healthcare costs. Yet only about a third of Canadians get the flu shot each year.

As healthcare providers, you know the risks of the flu and the potential benefits of vaccination. This e-newsletter offers tips on fighting the flu through education, flu vaccination clinics and employer-sponsored flu-shot days.

  • Educate: There are numerous reasons people choose not to get a flu vaccination. Some cite good health and think they don’t need one. Others believe they can catch the flu virus from the vaccine. And, still others think the potential for vaccination complications outweighs the benefits. As healthcare providers, you provide the facts. Imprint banners and flyers with flu facts and distribute them throughout clinic offices and waiting rooms.
  • Promote: Some patients either forget or put off getting their flu shot. As healthcare providers, you can help them remember. When flu shots become available, mail a tissue wallet to your patients, alerting them you have the vaccine and reminding them to make an appointment. If flu shots aren’t part of your facility’s service offerings, you may want to point patients in the right direction through a tool like the ImmunizeCA app. Imprint the tool’s website address on a hot/cold pack to distribute to your patients with a note, reminding them you care about their wellness and want them to stay healthy.
  • Offer flu clinics: Flu-shot clinics can be a convenient and effective way to promote the flu shot. For onsite clinics, promote flu shots with pre-recorded phone messages, social media posts, email blasts, direct mail, posters and buttons. Or, consider partnering with local businesses. Some employers offer free flu shots to their staff because approximately 1.5 million workdays are lost in Canada each year due to the flu.

The flu is an inevitable part of the upcoming season. But healthcare providers can do their part to minimize it by promoting and educating patients on the potential benefits of the flu vaccination. Good luck, and stay healthy!

 

The Public Health Agency of Canada reminds Canadians to protect themselves this flu season.Public Health Agency of Canada. Newswire, 06 Nov. 2012. Web. Retrieved 21 July 2015.

Influenza Facts.Canadian Healthcare Influenza Immunization Network. (n.d.): Web. Retrieved 21 July 2015.

Influenza Immunization, less than one year ago by sex, by province and territory.Statistics Canada. (n.d.): Web. Retrieved 21 July 2015.

Dallas, Mary Elizabeth. “10 Excuses for Not Getting a Flu Shot Busted.EverydayHealth.com. N.p., 31 Oct. 2014. Web. Retrieved 03 July 2015.

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