10 Sep Mandatory Flu Shots For Health Care Workers Boosts Vaccination Rates
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Allison Weinmann MBBS, FRACP
Senior Staff, Division Infectious Diseases
Director HFHS Immunization Team
Medical Director Infection Control and Prevention, West Bloomfield Hospital
Henry Ford Health System
Clinical Assistant Professor, Wayne State University
Detroit, Mi 48202
Medical Research: What are the main findings of this study?
Dr. Weinmann: The main findings included:
- Mandatory influenza immunization for health care workers without allowing optional opt-out (and only allowing for documented medical or religious exemption) successfully raised our immunization uptake among all our employees to over 99% sustainable for the last 2 years which we consider a very important patient safety initiative.
- Less than 2% of workers met a medical or religious exemption.
- A prior optional opt out with mask wearing was problematic for staff and patients and did not reach our goal of close to 100% immunization uptake.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Weinmann: The unexpected findings were:
- Early and strong support from administration and hospital leaders.
- Obtaining close to 100% immunization rates are achievable even in very large health care system.
- Despite a vocal minority of dissenters, the majority of our employees supported the mandate as evidenced by our data.
Medical Research: What should patients and clinicians take away from this report?
Dr. Weinmann: Take away messages:
- Patient safety is one of health cares’ primary concerns – there is literature data associating health care workers and low immunization rates with outbreaks in health care facilities – mandatory influenza vaccination for health care workers promotes patient safety.
- Mandatory immunization is achievable even in very large multihospital health care systems.
- In order to be successful: Strong physician leadership; Buy in from administration; Strong multidisciplinary System wide influenza committee with key players Infectious Diseases physicians, Infection Control, Human Resources, Employee Health, microbiology lab, pharmacy.
- High rates of immunization can be sustained over time without losing employees.
Medical Research: What future research do you recommend as a result of this study?
Dr. Weinmann: Future initiatives should consider other immunization mandates on a case-by-case basis eg Tdap.
ICAAC 2014 Abstract discussing:
Mandatory policy boosts flu vaccination rates among health care workers