Toronto (Nov. 24, 2005) - One of the largest hospitals in Canada, University Health Network (UHN), achieved a 75% staff vaccination rate or 8,000 staff against this year's known influenza strains. This is a dramatic 17% increase in staff vaccination from last year's participation and 5% higher than the province's recommended target.

"We're thrilled that so many of our staff are vaccinated against the flu," said Dr. Bob Bell, President and CEO. "I'm confident that our results will bolster the success of other organization's flu awareness campaigns. After all, everybody has a role to play to safeguard themselves, patients and loved ones against influenza."

With more than 10,000 staff and 1,308 physicians across the three hospital sites (Toronto General, Princess Margaret and Toronto Western Hospitals), UHN offers one of the largest employer-sponsored flu vaccination campaigns in Canada. The four-week campaign is highly coordinated featuring flu carts that travel to every unit and area, information sessions and competition between the sites.

"We have a dedicated team of nurses within our Occupational Health and Safety Department focused on the prevention of communicable diseases among staff, including influenza. The overwhelming success of our flu campaign is because of their hard work and leadership," said Jane Sloggett, UHN's Director of Occupational Health and Safety.

According to Dr. Michael Gardam, UHN's Director of Infection Prevention and Control, the increase in the number of staff who rolled up their sleeves can be partially linked to mounting concerns over an influenza pandemic.

"Concerns over an influenza pandemic has shone a much needed spotlight on the importance of flu prevention and ongoing infection control practices," said Gardam. Ontario's Universal Influenza Immunization Program is the only one of its kind in North America. Each year, thousands of Ontarians fall ill with the flu with some becoming severely ill, while others may die.

About University Health Network

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research projects in transplantation, cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, and genomic medicine. University Health Network is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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