Unimmunized healthcare professionals put patients at risk
Healthcare professionals(HCPs) are frequently implicated as the source of influenza in healthcare settings. [Horcajada, Salgado, Harrison] This is particularly troubling for the high-risk patients in their care, who may be at increased risk of severe complications, including influenza-related mortality. Outbreaks have been documented in high-risk patient care areas, including organ transplant units [Malavaud], long-term care facilities [CDC 1992], and neonatal intensive care units. [Cunney]
HCP influenza vaccination rates are extremely low. During the 2004-2005 season, which followed a particularly virulent season marked by over 150 reported influenza-related pediatric deaths,[Bhat] just 43 percent of HCPs were vaccinated.[CDC 2005] Surprisingly, HCPs cite reasons similar to the general public for not getting vaccinated, including the mistaken belief that the inactivated vaccine can cause influenza.
NFID's initiative to increase HCP vaccination rates calls on healthcare institutions to ensure influenza vaccine is available and offered annually to all HCPs. Not only will they protect their vulnerable patients, but they will protect themselves and their families from the serious morbidity and mortality associated with influenza.
Bhat N, Wright JG, Broder KR, et al. Influenza-associated deaths among children in the United States, 2003-2004. N Engl J Med 2005;353:2559-2567.
CDC. Estimated influenza vaccination coverage among adults and children--United States, September 1, 2004-January 1, 2005. MMWR 2005;54(12):304-307.
CDC. Outbreak of influenza A in a nursing home--New York, Dec. 1991-Jan. 1992. MMWR 1992;41(8):129-131.
Cunney RJ, Bialachowski A, Thornley D, Smaill FM, Pennie RA. An outbreak of influenza A in a neonatal intensive care unit. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2000;21(7):449-451.
Harrison J, Abbott P. Vaccination against influenza: UK health care workers not on-message. Occup Med 2002;52(5):277-279.
Horcajada JP, Pumarola T, Martinez JA, et al. A nosocomial outbreak of influenza during a period without influenza epidemic activity. Eur Respir J 2003;21(2):303-307.
Malavaud S, Malavaud B, Sander K, et al. Nosocomial outbreak of influenza virus A (H3N2) infection in a solid organ transplant department. Transplantation 2001;72(3):535-537.
Salgado CD, Farr BM, Hall KK, Hayden FG. Influenza in the acute hospital setting. Lancet 2002;2(3):145-155.