Important One Health (public health) information proposed…


Seasonal Influenza Immunization Pilot Project for Pork Producers on Prince Edward Island, Canada


Daniel Hurnik, DVM, MSc1, Tim W. Seeber2, Lucie Verdon, DVM, IPSAV3

1University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown PE, Canada. E-mail:
2PEI Pork, Charlottetown PE, Canada.

 3Canadian Swine Health Board, Ottawa ON, Canada


Following veterinary biosecurity recommendations, some producers restrict people with influenza symptoms from entering pig barns, and recommend that workers regularly be immunized to reduce the risk of transmission of seasonal influenza A virus to pigs.  A more widespread application of these principles could mitigate future impact of the seasonal influenza virus on the pig industry.  While the Public Health Agency of Canada encourages all Canadians to be vaccinated against influenza, there remains a relatively low compliance rate.  It was the intent of this project to determine if the vaccination rate of swine workers can be increased through making immunization more easily available.


This one health approach creates a situation where both humans and animals benefit from one single action. There is an improvement in human health with a lower prevalence of seasonal influenza; the influenza risk to animals is reduced if there is less human shedding, and a lower work absenteeism rate makes the farm more productive and animals care more consistent.



A registered nurse who was willing to travel to the farms was hired, and when possible, visits were timed to coincide with loading of trucks to capture the trucker population.  Each participant was provided with a letter from the Canadian Swine Health Board and a two page “Influenza Fact Sheet” from the provincial Department of Health and was offered a free seasonal influenza vaccine.



  Out of 105 farm workers eligible for vaccination, the program succeeded in vaccinating 35 people in addition to the 15 that were already vaccinated prior to the program thus raising the vaccination rate from 14% to 47.6%.



The good news is that making access to vaccination more convenient created a greater than 3 fold increase in the number of swine workers becoming vaccinated for seasonal influenza.  The rate of vaccination reached approximately 50% of the target population, which is a higher compliance rate than even for medical workers, and greater than the national rate of the general public, which is around 34%.  However, 50% of the target population remains uninterested in vaccination; consideration perhaps should be given to exploring more specifically the reason why swine workers prefer not to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza A.

Keywords: seasonal influenza vaccination swine workers

The co-authors, Drs. Hurnik, Seeber, and Verdon previously presented this One Health related data at two conferences in 2011 and 2012, respectively.


Submitted to the One Health Initiative website March 19, 2012 by Dr. Daniel Hurnik