Navigation Links
Flu vaccination rate at large, Midwest health system rises dramatically due to mandatory policy
Date:2/3/2010

Making flu shots mandatory in 2008 dramatically increased the vaccination rate among St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare's nearly 26,000 employees to more than 98 percent, according to a report now online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The study's lead author, infectious disease specialist Hilary Babcock, M.D., says the success of the mandatory program demonstrates it is possible to implement a vaccination campaign on a large scale in a health-care setting.

"As a patient safety initiative, we knew the flu shot was safe and effective, and the best way to protect patients was to be sure that employees were vaccinated," she says.

For 10 years, BJC affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine offered the influenza vaccine free of charge to its employees, conducted extensive education campaigns about the benefits of the shot and provided incentives to employees. While vaccination rates were consistently above the national average, they remained below BJC's target of 80 percent. The nonprofit health care organization includes 13 hospitals in St. Louis, southern Illinois and mid-Missouri.

In 2006, 54 percent of BJC employees received the influenza vaccine, only slightly above average for health-care workers nationwide. In 2007, BJC employees who declined to get a flu shot were asked to sign a statement saying they understood the risk to themselves, their patients and their families. That year, the vaccination rose to 71 percent, still below BJC's target rate.

Then in 2008, with a focus on patient safety, BJC made the influenza vaccine mandatory for all its employees, regardless of whether they worked directly with patients. Again, the health system provided educational programs about the benefits of the vaccine and made the shot available at no charge to employees at multiple times and locations.

Employees could request religious or medical exemptions, which were reviewed by human resources and occupational health nurses, respectively. Interestingly, many fewer employees sought medical or religious exemptions than had signed declination statements in the previous year.

Overall, 25,561 (98.4 percent) of BJC employees received an influenza vaccine in 2008. In addition, 90 employees (.3 percent) received religious exemptions, and 321 (1.2 percent) received medical exemptions. Medical exemptions included severe allergy to eggs, prior allergic reactions to the flu vaccine and a history of Guillain-Barr syndrome.

"Some of the requests for medical exemptions reflected misinformation about the vaccine and influenza," says Babcock, an associate professor of medicine, who conducted the study with senior author Keith Woeltje, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine. For example, some requests cited asthma, cancer or a suppressed immune system, even though these conditions increase the risk of flu-related complications and are reasons to get vaccinated.

In all, eight employees were terminated because they were not vaccinated or granted an exemption. Most of these employees did not submit an exemption request.

Babcock attributes success of the program to the support of hospital leadership and consistent communication from BJC staff that emphasized patient safety. "Overall, the program went very smoothly," she says. "We were able to talk with the people who had concerns about the vaccine and allay their fears. A large number of employees were really glad that we had made it mandatory and that co-workers were being vaccinated."

At the two teaching hospitals that are part of BJC HealthCare, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital, all 907 medical residents and fellows complied with the mandatory policy; five received medical or religious exemptions.

Although physicians employed by BJC were required to get the flu shot, most physicians affiliated with BJC HealthCare are in private practice or are employed by Washington University School of Medicine and are not covered by the mandatory policy.

In the United States, influenza is associated with 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year, and it is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death. Other vaccines, including those for the measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox, already are required by many health-care organizations, including BJC.

Babcock says she now plans to collect data for the 2009 flu season, when employees have been required to get both the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine.


'/>"/>

Contact: Caroline Arbanas
arbanasc@wustl.edu
314-286-0109
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Growing Number of U.S. Kids Not Getting Needed Vaccinations
2. Flu Vaccinations Begin on September 29 Maxim Health Systems to Provide 24,000 Flu Shot Clinics Nationwide
3. Childhood vaccination may protect adult eyes
4. Launch of New Educational Campaign, Spread the Word - NOT the Flu!, Aims to Highlight Importance of Influenza Vaccination
5. Novartis Vaccines Launches National Gift-Giving Program to Help Protect Loved Ones by Reserving an Influenza Vaccination
6. American College of Physicians recommends flu vaccination for health-care workers
7. A missed shot: The failure of HPV vaccination state requirements
8. Chicken pox vaccination should be introduced for children in the UK
9. Colorado Influenza and Pneumococcal Alert Coalition (CIPAC) Partners with Novartis Vaccines for Holiday Vaccination Clinic, Making Influenza Vaccination Convenient for Shoppers
10. Novartis Vaccines Partners With RediClinic for Holiday Vaccination Clinic, Making Influenza Vaccination Convenient for Shoppers
11. Novartis Vaccines to Host Holiday Vaccination Clinic, Making Influenza Vaccination Convenient for Shoppers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... A quote from Dr. ... of comments on social media that offer a rare glimpse into the mind of ... authority and New York Times bestselling author, has described people with ADHD as having ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... consultation services from offices located in South Lyon, Dewitt, Williamston, East Lansing, Ann ... basketball coach who needs treatment for a brain tumor. , Jason Bauer and ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... 07, 2016 , ... A. Kevin Spann Insurance, a New York-based firm offering ... is launching a charity drive to raise funds that will benefit the Marine Corps ... marines and Navy FMF Corpsmen. Working closely with the MCL, the A. Kevin Spann ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Delete® - Tattoo Removal and ... The Holiday Party Season. Save Up To 33% Off Botox® and Juvederm® Products Now ... the Phoenix Valley with Delightful Deals on Botox® and Juvederm® just in ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Gensuite is ... Awards under the Best New Product Launch category. Gensuite’s entry on their EZ ... , BOC Global Events & Training Group is a professional event and training ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)...  BTL Aesthetics today announced the release of ... ME device was effectively redesigned for more efficient, ... tissue. The result: Significantly better outcomes in abdominal ... ME versus BTL Vanquish. "We are ... patients with the most highly-advanced devices on the ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... Dec. 6, 2016   Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, ... dermatology and aesthetics company, today announced it ... specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing first-in-class ... including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and pruritus (itch). ... will make an undisclosed upfront payment in ...
(Date:12/6/2016)...  Arcturus Therapeutics, Inc. ("Arcturus" or the "Company"), ... it entered into collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company ... of NASH and other gastrointestinal (GI) related disorders, ... UNA Oligomer chemistry. The financial terms were not ... and expertise in GI disorders, we are confident ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: