South West Healthcare topped the state in influenza vaccination rates, winning the 2019 Influenza Immunisation Campaign Award.
96.8 per cent of the hospital's staff received their flu vaccines this year, the highest score in Victoria for a comparable hospital or health service with 800-2999 staff.
It's the second year in a row that the hospital has received the award.
"I think more and more people have realised the importance of having it and that we then create a safer environment for patients and their families to come in," South West Healthcare CEO Craig Fraser said.
"Given people come here when they're sick, we run the risk of people spreading the flu if they aren't vaccinated against it.
"Our staff now see the importance of being vaccinated, and also they're now trying to encourage other people to do it."
A total of 54,067 cases of laboratory confirmed influenza have been processed so far in 2019, twelve times the number of cases notified by the same time in 2018 and almost two times the number by the same time in 2017, Victorian Health Department figures show.
Infection control coordinator Jenny Lukeis said there was a spike in people presenting to the hospital with the flu in south-west Victoria.
"We have had a spike but there's quite a lot of people that we see through ED that we send home to look after themselves there," she said.
"We try to only admit patients that are very unwell.
"There has been an increase, the emergency team absolutely has seen more people coming in with the flu."
The vaccine initiative was supported by and paid for by South West Healthcare, seeing 2300 vaccines administered to staff and their family members from May until June 30.
"One of the good things we've done in our hospital community is our family vaccine, where family of staff can be vaccinated here as well," Ms Lukeis said.
"We had a really good uptake this year, a lot of people who had never been vaccinated before so it was wonderful.
"It's creating a safer community by extending the program. We hope this can inspire other businesses to do the same type of thing that would be wonderful."
Mr Fraser said the vaccine program has helped stop the spread of the virus.
"While we have seen more cases come in this year, I think by vaccinating staff we have decreased the impact across the region because when people come in with the flu, they're not transmitting the flu to staff then to people in the community," he said.
Mr Fraser there has been a lot of misinformation when it comes to influenza vaccines, but that education is helping to tackle that.
"Some people think there are other effects when you have the vaccine but that's simply not accurate," he said.
"I think education and knowledge of people understanding that it's a very safe thing is growing.
"People do die of the flu, this isn't something that we do lightly, this is creating a safe system."
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