APIC: Flu vaccines should be mandatory for healthcare personnel

National Influenza Vaccination Week: Increased vaccination to prevent illness, protect patients

Washington, DC, December 7, 2011 – In honor of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) December 4 – 10, 2011, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) urges the public to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu. APIC encourages and supports mandatory influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel (HCP).

NIVW is a U.S. government observance that highlights the importance of flu vaccination to public health.

According to a study published in the August 2011 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), only 46.7 percent of healthcare providers surveyed had an influenza vaccination.1 Immunization is vital to controlling the spread of influenza. Healthcare personnel can spread the infection to patients and other HCP before symptoms are apparent.

“Healthcare providers working in close proximity to patients should be required to receive influenza immunization as a condition of employment,” said APIC 2011 President Russell Olmsted, MPH, CIC.  “Those who choose not to get vaccinated put all patients at risk.”

Influenza is a highly contagious disease that is associated with an estimated 3,000 to 49,000 deaths per year. Vaccination is the most effective way to decrease the transmission of the flu.  Mandatory vaccination programs have proven to be the single most effective strategy to increase HCP influenza vaccination rates. 

APIC’s recommendations are published in a position paper released this year, “Influenza Vaccination Should Be a Condition of Employment for Healthcare Personnel, Unless Medically Contraindicated.” These recommendations apply to acute care hospitals, longterm care, and other facilities that employ HCP.

More information about National Influenza Vaccination Week is available at http://www.flu.gov/news/nivw.html.

APIC’s mission is to improve health and patient safety by reducing risks of infection. The association’s more than 14,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. APIC advances its mission through education, research, collaboration, practice guidance, public policy, and credentialing. Visit APIC online at www.apic.org. For consumer-related information, visit www.preventinfection.org. Follow APIC on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apic.

1 Lu PJ, Euler GL. Influenza, hepatitis B, and tetanus vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel in the United States. Am J Infect Control 2011;39:488-94.

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