Four in 10 healthcare staff have flu shots

Feb. 28, 2008 at 11:13 PM
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BETHESDA, Md., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A U.S. non-profit group has announced a "call for action" in response to a study that says only 42 percent of healthcare personnel get a flu shot.

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., has published two reports -- a call to action urging healthcare personnel to receive annual influenza vaccines, and a best practices report illustrating innovative programs for increasing immunization rates.

"Too many valuable healthcare personnel risk contracting influenza because they have not been vaccinated," said Dr. William Schaffner, vice president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. "Even more troubling is the fact that these employees risk spreading the virus among the sick and often immunocompromised patients under their care."

Unvaccinated health facility employees can be a significant source of influenza virus transmission -- among each other and to patients, Schaffner said.

The reports offer a variety of approaches and activities in increase vaccinations that include:

-- Mobile vaccination cart programs.

-- Free vaccinations on-site.

-- Intensive education and awareness programs.

-- Use of new technologies.

-- Signed declination forms.

-- State legislation and mandate programs.

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