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CDC: Add HCW flu shots to patient safety program
Another move to end HCW apathy, resistance
Health administrators should consider the level of vaccination coverage among health care workers to be a "measure of a patient safety quality program," recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
In recently released recommendations that continue the CDC's effort to reverse historically poor flu immunization rates among caregivers, ACIP says calls for hospital and health care administrators to implement policies to encourage HCP vaccination (e.g., obtaining signed statements from HCP who decline influenza vaccination). "Health care facilities should offer influenza vaccinations to all health care personnel (HCP), including night, weekend, and temporary staff," ACIP states. "Particular emphasis should be placed on providing vaccinations to workers who provide direct care for persons at high risk for influenza complications. Efforts should be made to educate HCP regarding the benefits of vaccination and the potential health consequences of influenza illness for their patients, themselves, and their family members. All HCP should be provided convenient access to influenza vaccine at the work site, free of charge, as part of employee health programs."1
The recommendations follow a joint statement last year by ACIP and the CDC's Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory (HICPAC).2 Those joint guidelines stated that "obtaining declination statements from health care workers who refuse vaccination for reasons other than medical contraindications can assist facilities in identifying personnel who might require targeted education or other interventions to overcome barriers to vaccine acceptance. In addition, collection of such information will allow health care facilities to determine what proportion of their staff are reached and offered vaccine."