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Ninety Percent of All Vaccine Preventable Deaths Occur in Those 65 and Older According to Highlighted Studies in the December Patient Safety Advisory
Date:12/1/2009

Safety Authority said. "Long-term care and healthcare facilities need to take another look at their annual immunization programs to ensure staff, residents and patients are getting vaccinated.

"Educational efforts also need to be stepped up to ensure staff, residents and patients understand the benefits and consequences of getting the shots as opposed to not getting the shots," Doering added.

Studies show that many healthcare workers may not be up-to-date with current recommendations regarding the flu and pneumonia vaccination. Historically, ACIP has recommended the flu vaccine should be offered beyond the traditional fall immunization season (October into January and beyond). However, this recommendation has changed. The vaccination should be given as soon as it is available until the end of flu season (April/May) depending on activity.

A 2000 national survey of 1,606 physician practices shows 43 percent of respondents stopped vaccinating in December and only 27 percent vaccinated into February. Also, a direct personal recommendation from healthcare providers has been shown to increase immunization rates among residents who are opposed to vaccination.

"While education alone does not significantly affect vaccination rates, medical and support staffs that are more current in their knowledge are more likely to get the shots themselves and be more persuasive to residents who are unsure about getting vaccinated," Doering said.

Nursing homes may also not be aware that in October 2002, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule removing the physician signature requirement for flu and pneumonia vaccinations. Written consent from the patient is also not required before giving vaccines, according to the Pennsylvania Medical Care and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act of 2002. The only informed consent required is information given to the patient about the pros and cons of receiving the f
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
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