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Strategies increase health-care worker vaccination rates -- protecting patients
Date:3/16/2010

Atlanta, Ga. (March 17, 2010)Healthcare personnel influenza immunization rates have remained low, despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading healthcare organizations that all healthcare personnel receive annual flu vaccines. Experts say these levels are perilous. Increasing vaccination rates substantially improves patient safety, lowering flu deaths by 40 percent.

Three studies presented at the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections in Atlanta examine ways to increase healthcare personnel vaccination rates through social networking, declination strategies and mandates.

"Immunization is one of the most important things that we as healthcare personnel can do to prevent the transmission of influenza and other diseases to our patients," said William Schaffner, MD, a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's (IDSA) Board of Directors. "We owe it to our patients to get vaccinated. These studies are very helpful because they demonstrate strategies that work to effectively reach and vaccinate healthcare personnel."

Social Networks Help Researchers Understand Healthcare Personnel's Flu Vaccine Use

Epidemiologists and computer scientists at University of Iowa Health Care (UIHC) found that healthcare personnel are more likely to be vaccinated if their close contact co-workers, also referred to as neighbors in the study, are vaccinated. Researchers constructed a social network of hospital-based healthcare personnel as a proxy for social relationships to examine the impact of co-workers' vaccination status on the vaccine status of their neighbors. Researchers examined the level of contact individual healthcare personnel have with other healthcare personnel.

Over the two year study period (2007-2008), Donald Curtis, a computer science graduate student in the university's Computational Epidemiology Research Gr
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Contact: Sharon Reis
sreis@gymr.com
202-745-5103
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
Source:Eurekalert

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