Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Group Calls for Mandatory Flu Vaccine for Health Care Workers

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Group Calls for Mandatory Flu Vaccine for Health Care Workers

Article excerpt

Hospitals should require all health care workers with direct patient contact to be vaccinated against both seasonal influenza and the pandemic A(H1N1) flu, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology has said.

If workers decline vaccinations, they should be required to sign a statement acknowledging that their action may put patients at risk of contracting the disease, according to a policy paper.

"Employees who are not vaccinated can transmit both seasonal flu and HlNl virus to vulnerable patients in health care situations," Christine J. Nutty, R.N., president of the association, said in a statement. "Current rates of health care worker immunizations are appallingly low and must not be tolerated. It's time for hospitals to require flu shots and hold employees accountable for declining the vaccine."

Despite recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, survey data from 2005 to 2006 show that just 42% of health care workers with patient contact had been vaccinated against influenza. Making vaccination a requirement rather than an option will probably drive up this number, the paper said.

"Immunization requirements are effective in increasing vaccination rates. …

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