Healthcare Personnel Should Receive Flu Vaccine Yearly, Says ACIP

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) recommends that all healthcare personnel (HCP) be vaccinated against influenza every year. The study data is published in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed results of an opt-in Internet panel survey (n=1882) conducted during April 1-16, 2014 in efforts to estimate influenza vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel. Professional clinical healthcare personnel (eg, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, allied health professionals, technicians, and technologists) were recruited from the current membership roster of Medscape. Other occupations (eg, assistants, aides, administrators, clerical support workers, janitors, food service workers, and housekeepers) who met eligibility criterion were recruited for a health survey from general population Internet panels operated by or in partnership with SSI.

Survey items included: demographic characteristics, occupation type, work setting, self-reported influenza vaccination, and employer vaccination policies (eg, vaccination requirements, vaccination availability at the workplace, and promotion of vaccination [including recognition, rewards, compensation, and free or subsidized vaccination]).

Data showed 75.2% of participating healthcare personnel received an influenza vaccination during the 2013–14 season, which was similar to the 72.0% coverage reported in the 2012-13 season.

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Vaccination coverage was highest among personnel working in hospitals and lowest among those working in long-term care settings (89.6% vs. 63.0%). When categorized by occupation, coverage was highest among physicians (92.2%), nurses (90.5%), nurse practitioners and physician assistants (89.6%), pharmacists (85.7%), and “other clinical personnel” (87.4%) compared with assistants and aides (57.7%) and nonclinical personnel (68.6%).

Vaccination coverage was higher for personnel working in settings where vaccination was required (97.8%) compared with those working in settings where it was not required but promoted (72.4%) or settings where there was no requirement or promotion (47.9%).

Analysis showed that higher vaccination coverage was tied to employer vaccination requirements, vaccination promotion, and access at the workplace at no cost for more than 1 day. When vaccination requirements are not present, flu vaccine coverage among healthcare personnel may see improvement by increasing the number of healthcare facilities offering vaccination on-site for multiple days, and at no cost.

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Have you received the flu vaccine for this upcoming season?