Toronto public sector staff more likely to be fully vaccinated against diseases

Toronto public sector staff are more likely to be fully vaccinated against diseases such as measles and mumps than employees in the private sector. In 2016, 88 per cent of city of Toronto employees…

Toronto public sector staff more likely to be fully vaccinated against diseases

Toronto public sector staff are more likely to be fully vaccinated against diseases such as measles and mumps than employees in the private sector.

In 2016, 88 per cent of city of Toronto employees were fully vaccinated against 13 diseases compared to the national average of 74 per cent, said the city in a report on government employees’ measles and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination status.

Government employees typically are younger than the Canadian average population and therefore tend to be more vaccinated. The city’s staff immunization rate is high because the report said, “staff frequently do not receive vaccinations after contracting [diseases] in the workplace and often seek out childhood vaccinations.”

Interestingly, two of the four infectious diseases reported by employees in the private sector – measles and mumps – are on the city’s list of vaccines required for safety certification, including those for peanut consumption.

Influenza (flu) vaccination is required in both the city and the Canadian public sector, but no children under the age of six are required for any of the four vaccines required for certification. However, a flu shot is not required for certification on any public sector health care worker’s certificate.

Public sector employees can and do receive compliance audits and corrective action plans when they fail to update their vaccination status, the report noted.

In 2016, 8,370 of the city’s 74,000 employees – around 5 per cent – were not vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). The city’s only employee category reporting incomplete vaccinations was working with seniors, whose vaccination status rates were reported as 70 per cent and high-risk patients who are immunocompromised or have communicable diseases, as 45 per cent of these employees were not vaccinated.

This figure represents both the HPV vaccine available for women who are vaccinated for cervical cancer (female) and the three-strain Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine for males, after immunizing females.

The city’s final vaccination rate was 84 per cent in 2016, compared to 74 per cent for the Canadian average of 74 per cent, and 85 per cent for the most recent Canadian Centres for Disease Control update on vaccinated status for the 2018–2019 flu season.

The Canadian public sector immunization rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points in 2016 compared to the previous year, dropping to 74 per cent. Nearly four of every 10 public sector employees did not receive any vaccination at all.

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