A campaign that makes seasonal flu vaccinations for hospital staff free, convenient, ubiquitous and hard to ignore succeeds fairly well in moving care providers closer to a state of "herd" immunity and protecting patients from possible infection transmitted by health care workers, according to results of a survey at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In a report published in the Feb. 1 edition of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers say the rate of seasonal flu vaccination for the 2008-2009 season among health care workers at the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore medical campus, including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, was double the national average. They attribute the results to a persistent campaign that made it easy to get vaccinated and also to the wider availability of free community-based vaccination opportunities.
The 2008 survey, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Division of Occupational Medicine, showed that 71.3 percent of the 10,763 hospital staff, including medical school faculty, nurses, researchers and students, received the so-called flu shot. Staff got the vaccine either as a nasal mist or by injection between September 2008 and January 2009, when people are most likely to come into contact with the highly contagious virus.
For workers who came into direct contact with patients on a daily basis, the number was even higher, at 82.8 percent. Experts say that achieving a 100 percent population vaccination rate is the only way to prevent even sporadic transmission, but that herd immunity can, at least, prevent outbreaks from sweeping across whole sections of the hospital.
Preliminary numbers for the 2009-2010 season show even further progress for The Johns Hopkins Hospital, with an estimated 25 percent jump in vaccinations (or 1,500 more inoculated staff), an increase the experts attribute to the emergence of H1N1 last year and heightened public awareness about the dangers p
|Contact: David March|
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions