Immunization against influenza should be a mandatory condition for employment at every healthcare facility nationwide, says the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
According to the organization, which issued a position paper on the subject last week, annual immunization rates among healthcare employees are not rising enough to prevent the transmission of healthcare-acquired influenza.
"We took a firmer stance on this issue because it is clear that voluntary efforts are not working," says Linda R. Greene, RN, MPS, CIC, director of infection prevention for the Rochester (N.Y.) General Health System and a member of APIC's board of directors. "Several studies now demonstrate that influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel reduces patient mortality. As infection preventionists, we have an ethical responsibility to protect those individuals entrusted to our care."
Unless such vaccination is medically contraindicated, it should be part of a facility's comprehensive strategy, says APIC, along with the recommendations put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for healthcare providers.
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