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Half of all Pregnant Women Getting Flu Shots; Vaccination Rates Increase for Health Care Personnel, Surveys Find
Date:9/26/2013

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"We know that flu vaccination not only decreases the risk of flu-related illness and complications for pregnant women, but can decrease the risk of severe flu-related illness in infants in the first 6 months, before they are old enough to get vaccinated," said Deborah Klein Walker, a vice president, senior fellow, and practice leader for Public Health and Epidemiology at Abt Associates. "Strategies that make it easier for pregnant women to get the vaccine by reducing the costs and helping health care providers recommend the vaccination at each visit are needed."

Vaccination Rates Increase for Health Care Personnel

Overall, 72 percent of 1,944 health care personnel surveyed reported getting a flu vaccine for the 2012–13 season, an increase from a little over 63 percent during the 2010–11 season. Flu shots were most common among physicians, at 92 percent.

Vaccination coverage was highest among hospital-based workers and was lowest among those who worked in long-term care facilities. For all health-care work settings, vaccination rates were higher where employers made the shots available on site at no cost for multiple days. Where employers required health care personnel to get a flu shot, overall vaccination coverage was a little over 96 percent.

"Health care personnel are an important group to track because they are at a particularly high risk for illness during the flu season due to their frequent exposure," said Sarah Ball, the project director at Abt for both flu surveys. "Health care organizations, especially those with patients in long-term care facilities, could use the start of the new flu season to consider implementing policies to encourage and make it easier for employees to receive an immunization."

The full research was published in the September 27, 2013 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

SOURCE Abt Associates
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