Universal flu vaccination decreased employee absence rates
SAN DIEGO — Researchers observed a decrease in absence rates among health care workers at the Denver Health Medical Center after the implementation of a universal influenza vaccination program.
According to background information in a study presented here, about 25% of health care workers contract influenza each year, and in turn, employee absence rates increase during influenza season.
For this reason, Heather Young, MD, of the Denver Health Medical Center, and colleagues set out to assess the implementation of a universal influenza vaccination policy in 2011. The policy required all health care workers and contractors with direct contact with patients to be vaccinated with the influenza vaccine by Dec. 1, 2011.
The researchers compared influenza activity rates between the 2006-2007 influenza season and the 2011-2012 influenza season. Both seasons were classified as mild and low by the CDC.
For the 2011-2012 influenza season, 98% of health care workers received influenza vaccination. Compared with a mean health care worker absence rate of 9.14 per 100 employees during 2006-2007, the absence rate was 6.15 per 100 employees per month in 2011-2012 (P=.0004).
“Universal influenza vaccination was associated with lower employee absences in 2 years with comparable low influenza activity. The data suggests that universal influenza vaccination may keep the workforce healthier,” Young told Infectious Disease News.
For more information:
Young H. #95. Presented at: ID Week. Oct. 17-21, 2012; San Diego.
Disclosure: Young reports no relevant financial disclosures.