Mandatory influenza (flu) vaccination, as a condition of employment, does not lead to excessive voluntary termination, according to a four-year analysis of vaccination rates at Loyola University Health System in Chicago.
"First do no harm is our mandate as health care workers," said Jorge Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, study author and professor of medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "We have a fiduciary responsibility to perform hand hygiene and adhere to contact precautions, and flu vaccines should be considered in the same vein meaning we should do all we can to not pass along illness to our patients." Loyola has sustained a 99 percent compliance average since adopting the mandatory flu vaccination protocol four years ago.
Flu infections result in approximately 150,000 hospital admissions and 24,000 deaths annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all healthcare personnel receive the annual flu vaccine, yet the national average for vaccination of health care professionals is only 64 percent.
"Just as construction workers must wear steel-toed boots and hard hats on job sites as a condition of employment, we believe that healthcare workers should get a flu shot to work in a hospital," said Parada, who leads the vaccination program at Loyola.
Infection prevention specialists worked with a multidisciplinary task force at Loyola to develop a facility-wide policy that made flu vaccination a condition of employment. Parada presented his study of the four-year program on June 9, 2013 at the annual conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
As one of the first medical centers in the country to implement mandatory flu vaccination, Loyola began with the full backing of the hospital's senior leadership. "Starting in 2008, staff were no longer simply not allowed to not bother to get influenza vaccination, inst
|Contact: Stasia Thompson|
Loyola University Health System