August 22, 2011
1 min read

Flu vaccination rates below national goal for HCWs

Harris KM. MMWR. 2011;60(32):1073-1077.

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New CDC data released today indicate that influenza vaccination rates for health care workers are significantly below the Healthy People 2020 target of 90% coverage — approximately 63.5% of health care workers were vaccinated for the 2010-2011 season.

“Influenza vaccination for health care personnel is important for the protection of the [health care worker] against influenza and to reduce the likelihood that the patient may be exposed to an influenza-infected health care worker,” Carolyn Bridges, MD, associate director for adult immunization at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, said during a CDC telebriefing today. “Both the ACIP and Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) recommend that all health care personnel be vaccinated annually for influenza.”

Research published today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes an analysis of factors associated with vaccination coverage among a national survey of 1,931 health care workers (HCWs). The 63.5% vaccination coverage during the 2010-2011 influenza season was similar to the 62% coverage during the previous season. Coverage was highest among those who worked in hospital settings (71.1%). Specifically, 84.2% of physicians and dentists and 82.6% of nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants were vaccinated.

Among 13% of HCWs required by their employer to get vaccinated, 98.1% were vaccinated vs. 58% of HCWs who were not required to be vaccinated. Increased vaccination coverage among those not required to be vaccinated was associated with employers offering free vaccination onsite and for more than 1 day.

“Offering vaccination at the work site was particularly important, and making vaccination convenient for HCWs is a key strategy for raising vaccination rates,” Bridges said.

In an accompanying editorial, CDC officials wrote: “Beginning in 2013, the CMS might require hospitals to report [HCW] influenza vaccination coverage as part of the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program. Tracking vaccination coverage among [HCWs] is needed as a measure of patient safety and to mark progress toward reaching the Healthy People 2020 target of 90%.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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