Flu Infographic
Starting today, UHN employees can get their flu shot and enter our #TakeYourBestShot contest to win a $200 gift card. (Graphic: UHN)

UHN's annual Flu Campaign kicks off today across all sites.

This year, we're bringing our support closer to home by partnering with Canadian Mental Health Association-Toronto in support of their Primary Health Care and Chronic Disease Management Initiative to improve primary care access for Torontonians living with severe mental illness.

UHN will make a donation to the initiative for every flu vaccine received by a UHN staff member, physician, volunteer, student and contract worker.

CMHA logo

Enter to win $200!
To participate in our #TakeYourBestShot contest for a chance to win one of five $200 Cadillac Fairview gift cards:

  1. Roll up your sleeves for the flu shot
  2. Take a photo of your flu shot sticker on your UHN badge
  3. Tweet it @UHN_News with the hashtag #TakeYourBestShot, or
  4. Email us your picture to social@uhn.ca with #TakeYourBestShot in the subject line

​The winners of the contest will be contacted at the end of the campaign.

Over 65 years of age?
This year, UHN is offering Fluzone High-Dose vaccine for staff over the age of 65.

Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza.

Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibody) in the person getting the vaccine.

If you are a staff member over the age of 65 who wishes to obtain Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, please contact the Occupational Health and Safety clinic at your site to make an appointment.

More about the flu

What is influenza?

Influenza is a serious contagious viral respiratory infection.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Typically, influenza starts with a headache, chills and cough. This is followed by fever, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, throat irritation, and in children, sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover from influenza within a week to 10 days.

The influenza season usually lasts from October to April, but the exact time can change every year. Typically the peak time for influenza is end of December to mid-January.

Do I have to get vaccinated?

We encourage you to get the influenza vaccine, but at this time the influenza vaccination is not mandatory for health-care workers at UHN. It's not that we think influenza vaccination isn't important, we think it's incredibly important and would like to see all of our staff lining up at the flu carts this year.

We also acknowledge, however, that the flu shot isn't perfect and this is why we need you to take other measures as well to protect yourself and our patients from respiratory viruses, including influenza.

If you are working on a unit where an influenza outbreak has been declared, it is required that you be vaccinated and/or take prophylactic medication until the outbreak is over.

Employees who are not vaccinated and refuse the prophylactic medication may be placed on an unpaid leave of absence (LOA) until the outbreak is over. If an employee is placed on an unpaid LOA they may use banked lieu time or vacation credits. If an employee is not able to receive the vaccine for medical reasons and a medical certificate is provided, the employee will be reassigned where possible during the outbreak. This is recognized in the ONA collective agreement. 

I got vaccinated last year. Why do I need to get it again?  

It's best to get the vaccine every year to keep yourself healthy. Different influenza viruses circulate every year and immunity from the influenza vaccine decreases over time. Even if there is no significant change in the virus, your body's immunity level declines over several months.

Can you get influenza from the vaccine?

No, you can't get influenza from the vaccine because the viruses contained in the vaccine are inactivated (killed) and cannot cause influenza. 

You can still catch the other respiratory viruses that are circulating at the same time as influenza.  Also, if you have been exposed to influenza right before vaccination (i.e., before your body has built immunity to the virus from vaccination), you may get sick from that infection and mistakenly attribute it to the vaccine.​​

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