From Infectious Disease News:
ATLANTA, March 18, 2010 — Mandatory vaccination policies increased the number of health care workers who received the influenza vaccine during the 2009-2010 influenza season, according to results from two studies presented here at the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections…
Researchers in the first study analyzed the outcomes of a mandatory vaccination/declination policy instituted by the Hospital Corporation of America in 163 hospitals, 112 outpatient centers and 368 physician practices in 20 states. The policy required all health care personnel to receive the influenza vaccine or be reassigned to nonpatient contact roles or use surgical masks.
Ninety-six percent of the hospital employees received their seasonal influenza vaccine by Nov. 1, which was a 65% increase in vaccination rates vs. the mean 58% during the previous season.
“We expect to move forward using this vaccination campaign strategy for future influenza seasons, and we expect other health care institutions to follow suit,” said Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of Hospital Corporation of America. “Our approach enhanced patient safety and our employees delivered with an overwhelming response.
A second study evaluated the disparities in employee vaccination rates over a five-year period at the Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo. This hospital also implemented a mandatory vaccination/declination policy in 2008, and vaccination rates rose from 63% to 85%. The addition of certain consequences during the 2009-2010 season, including forced leave of absence for noncompliance, further increased rates to 98.8%.
“Our dramatic increase in vaccination participation over the last few years has been astounding,” [threaten peoples’ jobs during a recession and they comply–why is that astounding?–Nass] said Robyn Livingston, MD, director of infection control and prevention at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. “Even though the program has exceeded our expectations, we recognize there is still room for improvement. We are considering a fully mandatory influenza vaccination policy to begin next fall.”