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Mandatory flu vaccination of healthcare personnel does not lead to worker exodus
Date:6/7/2013

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., June 7, 2013 Mandatory influenza (flu) vaccination, as a condition of employment, did not lead to excessive voluntary termination, according to a four-year analysis of vaccination rates at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL.

Flu infections result in approximately 150,000 hospital admissions and 24,000 deaths annually.1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all healthcare personnel (HCP) receive the annual flu vaccine, yet the national average for HCP vaccination is only 64 percent.

Infection control and prevention specialists at Loyola worked with a multidisciplinary task force to develop a facility-wide policy that made flu vaccination a condition of employment. Their successful approach will be presented on Sunday, June 9, at the 40th Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

"`First, do no harm' is our mandate as healthcare workers," said Dr. Jorge Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, study author and professor of medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "We should do all we can to not pass along illness to our patients."

As one of the first medical centers in the country to implement mandatory flu vaccination, Loyola began with the full backing of the hospital's senior leadership. They introduced an active declination system in 2008 HCPs were no longer allowed to simply not bother to get influenza vaccination, instead they were required by Employee Health to state "yes" or "no" when asked to be vaccinated and to provide reasoning for why they declined the vaccine. This brought the center's overall vaccination rate up to 72 percent, well above the CDC's goal of more than 60 percent of HCPs vaccinated, but the hospital aimed higher.

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Contact: Jennifer Crawford
jennifer.crawford@mslgroup.com
202-261-2889
Association for Professionals in Infection Control
Source:Eurekalert

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