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Interventions needed to improve influenza vaccination among HCWs

Interventions needed to improve influenza vaccination among HCWs

Improving influenza vaccination rates among health care workers will take a number of interventions, including consequences for not receiving the vaccine, researchers reported in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

“Influenza vaccination in health care workers (HCWs) can be improved, but it will take coordinated interventions that make it easier for them to receive the vaccine and consequences, such as wearing masks on patient contact, if the vaccine is not accepted,” Rodolfo Bégué, MD, of Louisiana State University and Children’s Hospital, New Orleans, told Infectious Disease News. “All of this requires cooperation between hospital leaders and employees.”

Bégué and colleagues administered surveys to hospitals in Louisiana to find out information on the hospitals’vaccination campaigns, vaccination rates and their future plans. They received 124 responses representing 153 hospitals. Among the responding hospitals, 44 had a voluntary influenza vaccination program and 79 required signed forms from employees declining the vaccine. Vaccines were provided for free at 122 of the hospitals.

The median vaccination rate was 67%. Vaccination rates were higher among hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission, hospitals that provided acute care, hospitals that served children, oncology patients, pregnant women or ICU patients, hospitals that required a sign declination and hospitals that imposed consequences on those who were not vaccinated. The rate was lower among hospitals that provided psychiatric or rehabilitation care, hospitals that had an exclusively voluntary influenza vaccination program and hospitals that did not impose consequences.

A multivariable analysis found that a signed declination and consequences such as wearing masks were associated with the vaccination rate.

“It was good to see that a relatively simple intervention, such as requiring unvaccinated HCWs to wear a mask on patient contact, decreased the number of patients who refused vaccination,” Bégué said. “We believe this data will help infection control practitioners plan their vaccination programs.”

Bégué said the study raised additional questions, such as the effect of early education in mandatory vaccination programs.

Source: Healio