Toronto asks health department to report on whether its staff has not been vaccinated against influenza

TORONTO — The city of Toronto said Friday it has asked health officials to report whether any of its staff has not been vaccinated against influenza, prompting the mayor to suggest that the two…

Toronto asks health department to report on whether its staff has not been vaccinated against influenza

TORONTO — The city of Toronto said Friday it has asked health officials to report whether any of its staff has not been vaccinated against influenza, prompting the mayor to suggest that the two years without an outbreak of a confirmed case could make the city less likely to face another when the current one ends.

Mayor John Tory suggested in an interview Friday on Canada’s CTV News that the city has found a group of unvaccinated workers who “would be most at risk” and the city will need to assess whether there are any other employees whose background has made them vulnerable to falling ill from the virus.

“This has been our highest number of influenza cases that have been recorded in a seven-year period,” he said. “We’re pausing a number of programs where you’d expect those who’ve been re-vaccinated to be absent.”

The city said in a news release that it is asking the Toronto Public Health department to “immediately interview all staff who have not been vaccinated and where possible, to ensure that all non-vaccinated staff are reassigned to positions where they will not have contact with populations at highest risk of developing complications associated with influenza.”

Toronto Health Services, a division of the city, is prepared to report on any issues around that report later this week, spokesman Sabrina Tesoriero told the Washington Post.

“We are currently working on a response to the city and hope to have more information shortly,” she said.

There have been 14 confirmed cases of influenza out of about 210,000 people so far this year in Toronto, according to the city.

The health department has said this outbreak, which began in late July, is the city’s worst since 2012. The most recent confirmed death was Monday, and as of Friday afternoon there were four more cases. The last confirmed death from the virus in the city was in February 2015.

Tory has said he expects the current outbreak to end in a couple of weeks and the city should not be considered vulnerable.

“What I expect is we’ll get through this,” he said. “We’ve got that well under control.”

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