Increase in Requirement for Flu Vaccines at Non-VA Hospitals

But few VA hospitals require vaccination for health care professionals, with no change.
But few VA hospitals require vaccination for health care professionals, with no change.

HealthDay News — At non-Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, but not in VA hospitals, there was an increase in mandatory influenza vaccination requirements for health care personnel (HCP) from 2013 to 2017, according to a study published online June 1 in JAMA Network Open.

M. Todd Greene, PhD, MPH, from the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Michigan, and colleagues compared the proportion of respondent hospitals requiring HCP to receive annual influenza vaccination between 2013 and 2017 in a national survey study. The study included responses from 1,062 infection preventionists from nationally representative samples of all VA and non-VA hospitals in the United States. 

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The researchers found that mandatory influenza vaccination requirements for HCP increased from 37.1% in 2013 to 61.4% in 2017 among all responding hospitals. This change was driven by non-VA hospitals; from 2013 to 2017, requirement policies increased from 44.3 to 69.4%. Conversely, the proportion of VA hospitals that required influenza vaccinations for HCP did not change significantly during this period (1.3 to 4.1%; 95% confidence interval, −2.4 to 8%; P=0.29).

"In addition to implementing other well-described strategies to increase vaccination rates, health care organizations should consider mandating influenza vaccinations while appropriately weighing and managing the moral, ethical, and legal implications," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, which provided funding for the study.

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