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Nation's leading ID experts call for mandatory flu vaccine for all health-care personnel
Date:8/31/2010

(Arlington, VA) Influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel is a professional and ethical responsibility and non-compliance with healthcare facility policies regarding vaccination should not be tolerated, according to a position paper released today by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). The paper, published in this month's Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology journal and endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), stresses influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel as a core patient safety practice that should be a condition of both initial and continued employment in healthcare facilities.

According to SHEA, their recommendations apply to all healthcare professionals in all healthcare settings, regardless of whether the professional has direct patient contact or whether he or she is directly employed by the facility. The policy also applies to students, volunteers, and contract workers. The only exemptions, say the epidemiologists and infectious disease physicians, should be in cases of medical contraindications.

"The transmission of influenza in healthcare settings is a substantial safety concern for both patients and healthcare personnel and deserves our attention and action," said Neil Fishman, MD, president of SHEA. "Healthcare providers are ethically obligated to take measures proven to keep patients from acquiring influenza in healthcare settings. Mandatory vaccination is the cornerstone to a comprehensive program designed to prevent the spread of influenza which also includes identification and isolation of infected patients, adherence to hand hygiene and cough etiquette, the appropriate use of protective equipment, and restriction of ill healthcare personnel and visitors in the facility."

The position paper, an update of an original statement issued in 2005, comes as healthcare personnel and facilities prepare for the upcoming 2010 flu season, and on the hee
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Contact: John Heys
jheys@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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