Photo: Dr Tamara Leung, Richmond Hospital, gets her flu shot to protect her parents, husband, and in-laws, as they are at risk of serious complications from the flu.
The official flu season is now over. This means that staff, physicians and volunteers who have not received the influenza vaccine are no longer expected to wear masks in patient care areas.
Localized influenza outbreaks are still being reported in facilities; in these events, the Staff Influenza Outbreak Policy still applies, and outbreak precautions include mask-wearing for unimmunized employees for the duration of the outbreak.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to protecting our patients from the flu.
As of December 1, 2017, under theInfluenza Prevention Policy, VCH staff, including all casuals and excluded staff; physicians, volunteers and contractors are required to have had the flu shot or wear a mask while in patient care areas and facilities.
Last year, the majority of VCH staff and physicians were immunized – 78% while the remaining staff wore masks. Your participation protects our vulnerable patients from a potentially fatal flu infection.
The vaccine is now available in most doctors’ offices and at pharmacies. Please call ahead to check as some offices and rural areas may not have picked up their supply yet. Starting in late October, peer immunizers (PIs) will be vaccinating staff on numerous units – ask your manager for details.
Find locations of staff clinics at VCH sites by downloading the printableStaff Flu Clinic PDF.
There is also a map of public clinics across BC, including pharmacies.
Report your immunization or mask online
New this year: all staff must report online, whether you receive a flu shot or decide to wear a mask.
Physicians (including physicians, dentists, midwives, psychologists, podiatrists, and denturists and nurse practitioners and fellows) report at medicalstaffhealth.vch.ca.
Everyone who reports online by December 1, whether you choose to vaccinate or mask, will be entered to win a multitude of prizes including a Fitbit Blaze Smart Watch and $20 coffee cards.
The Influenza Prevention Policy outlines the importance of getting vaccinated and what actions need to be taken if the policy applies to you:
- VCH employees, including excluded staff and all casuals
- Credentialed professionals (including physicians)
- Contractors & vendors
- All visitors
You will be required to wear a procedure mask when in patient care areas. Masks will be available on the units.
Watch this 90 second video of how to properly wear a mask.
The BC Centre for Disease Control recently released a discussion of the evidence paper supporting the enhanced influenza protection policy. If you have still not made a decision as to whether you will be immunized or wear a mask, you may review the paper to assist you in making an informed decision. More information is also available on HealthLink BC.FAQ - Influenza Vaccine
Visit the PHC staff page.
For more information about the flu please talk to your manager or visit HealthLink BC. Detailed info, including frequently asked questions, will be available on this page shortly. For other inquiries, email FluPrevention@vch.ca.