Universal masking is required at LHSC facilities. View our current COVID-19 measures.

London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London preventing the spread of influenza


For Immediate Release

October 15, 2013


LONDON, Ontario – London’s 2012-2013 influenza season saw 26 deaths, 297 hospitalizations and 472 laboratory-confirmed cases. This season, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) are increasing our efforts to protect our patients and residents from influenza.

Non-vaccinated staff and physicians will be required to be vaccinated or wear a procedure mask when providing patient care when influenza is confirmed to be circulating in the community.

“Evidence shows health care worker immunization reduces the risk of influenza outbreaks and significantly reduces morbidity and mortality among vulnerable patient populations,” says Dr. Michael John, medical director, infection prevention and control, LHSC and St. Joseph’s. “While getting immunized is the most effective way to protect those in our care, wearing a procedure mask is also an effective way to reduce the spread of influenza at the source by capturing the majority of large respiratory droplets, the vehicle by which influenza is spread.”

The change to the staff influenza immunization policies at both organizations follows the precedence set by physicians last year when non-vaccinated physicians were required to wear a procedure mask when influenza was circulating.

“We have a responsibility to keep our patients, residents and community safe from the spread of influenza,” continues Dr. John. “This new policy is only one part of a broader influenza immunization campaign at each organization that provides education about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, as well as the impact and importance of healthcare worker vaccination on patient safety.”

Due to the high use of common areas by patients at St. Joseph’s, all non-vaccinated staff, physicians and visitors are required to wear a procedure mask in common areas when influenza is circulating in the community as an additional measure. Visitors and patients are also encouraged to clean their hands when entering, leaving and walking through different areas of the hospitals.

Visitors will also be asked to help reduce the spread of influenza at both organizations. Non-vaccinated visitors will be asked to wear a mask when influenza is circulating in the community. Proof of vaccination will not be required. Visitors will be provided with procedure masks.

This new policy builds on the success of the influenza immunization programs last year that saw LHSC and St. Joseph’s staff rates of influenza immunization at 57 per cent. The physician immunization rate at both organizations was 82 per cent.


About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 138 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 65 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s is one of the best academic health care organizations in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Hospital; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; Regional Mental Health Care London and Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care in St. Thomas.
For more information visit www.sjhc.london.on.ca

Contact Information:

Marek Kubow Kelsi Break
London Health Sciences Centre St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Corporate Communications and Public Relations Communication & Public Affairs
519-685-8500, ext. 75155 519-646-6100 ext. 64792
Marek.Kubow@lhsc.on.ca Kelsi.Break@sjhc.london.on.ca

After-hours assistance:

Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call


Like us on Facebook at LHSC Canada, follow us on Twitter @LHSCCanada and watch us on YouTube at LHSCCanada.