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

ls of one of the worst flu seasons in our nation's history, the result of the H1N1 strain. Last year's flu season highlighted the necessity for stronger policies for healthcare personnel influenza vaccination, especially in light of the low vaccination rates in many voluntary influenza vaccination programs.

"Given the debate that surrounded mandatory healthcare personnel vaccination during the last influenza season, we support and applaud SHEA for issuing a strong and unequivocal statement about the critical importance of healthcare personnel vaccination," said Richard Whitley, MD, president of IDSA.

According to a 2009 RAND Corporation survey, 39 percent of healthcare professionals stated they had no intention of getting vaccinated despite the heightened concern surrounding influenza with the H1N1 pandemic.

"The scientific evidence shows significant reductions in the risk of influenza in both acute and long-term care settings as a result of strong immunization policies and programs," Dr. Whitley said. "Vaccination of healthcare personnel saves patients' lives and reduces illness. It also protects the individual worker from falling ill during influenza outbreaks and from missing work, which further impacts patient care." IDSA also supports SHEA's recommendation that a mandatory vaccination program be part of a multi-faceted, comprehensive infection control program.

Fishman added that he believes that this position paper, coupled with full and visible support of mandatory influenza vaccination by healthcare facility leadership, will dramatically improve the rates of vaccination.


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Contact: John Heys
jheys@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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