The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clearly states that the single best way to reduce influenza transmission in healthcare settings is through increased influenza vaccination.
The CDC recommends that all healthcare professionals (HCPs) receive an annual influenza vaccination to prevent transmission to patients.
Vaccination of HCPs should begin as soon as influenza vaccine becomes available and should continue throughout the entire influenza season. The influenza season usually peaks in February, so getting immunized as soon as vaccine is available in your community or throughout the fall and winter is beneficial.
Healthcare Professionals and Influenza Immunization Rates
- HCPs are frequently the source of influenza in healthcare settings. This is particularly troublesome for the vulnerable 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, long term care facilities, and neonatal intensive care unit.
- Influenza vaccination rates among HCPs have improved but still remain below public health goals.
According to CDC data, among unvaccinated HCPs who reported that they did not intend to get influenza vaccination during the 2012-13 season, commonly reported reasons included:
- Low awareness that they are in a group urged to receive annual influenza vaccination
- Fear of getting sick or side effects from vaccination
- Allergic reactions to the vaccine
- Perception that influenza is not a serious disease
- Perception that influenza vaccination is not effective in preventing influenza
- Low awareness and lack of concern about potential spread of the virus to patients
Benefits of Influenza Immunization of Healthcare Professionals
- Influenza immunization is an important patient safety issue. Unvaccinated HCPs can spread influenza to patients, coworkers, and family members, leading to influenza-related illnesses and deaths.
- Annual influenza immunization of HCPs:
- Prevents severe illnesses and deaths
- Protects patients, families, and coworkers
- Decreases use of sick leave
Infection Passed from Healthcare Professionals Can Increase Morbidity and Mortality Among Patients
Many believe only the elderly are at risk for increased complications from influenza. However, any individual with underlying medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, heart disease, immune deficiency) is at increased risk, as are infants and young children.
NFID public service announcement (:30 animated video) providing information on how to take 3 steps to #FightFlu
NFID public service announcement (:30 animated video) developed to create awareness about influenza prevention