Kathleen Chipperfield pushes a cart through the halls of Saskatoon City Hospital. The cart carries all the supplies for immunizing against influenza.

Kathleen Chipperfield and her roving cart.

Chipperfield is one of the occupational health nurses at SCH. Her goal is to catch people at work… people who are unable to take time away from their busy work days to get to the occupational health and safety office for immunization. “The roving carts are convenient for people who provide direct, patient and client care,” she says. “These are staff, physicians and volunteers who are busy on the wards, so if I can bring the immunization to them, we all win.”

But there are challenges to reaching the Region’s goal to immunize 80 per cent of point-of-care staff against influenza. Chipperfield hears all the reasons why people haven’t been immunized yet or don’t believe the vaccine will help.

“The most common reason is that people think they can get influenza from the flu shot,” says Chipperfield. “Some people think a gastro-intestinal illness is the ‘flu’ that we’re talking about when we say ‘influenza’. (It’s not), you can’t get influenza from the vaccine.”

Last year, just over 60 per cent of staff received immunization. So far this year, the rate is a bit higher than 51 per cent. To reach 80 per cent coverage, and to protect staff, families and our clients most effectively, the Region encourages all staff to seriously consider the benefits of being immunized.

To help answer some of the questions people, including health-care workers, might have about influenza, visit the Health Region’s website at www.4flu.ca and look for the ‘frequently asked questions’ section of the page. Or visit OH&S on InfoNet for information about staff immunization.

Chipperfield’s tour on one floor produces one employee interested in getting her influenza vaccine. It’s a productive day when one short ‘roving cart’ tour results in another immunization. “It’s just a bit more protection for all of us,” she says.