Healthcare Business News

Flu vaccination rate hits 66% for healthcare workers

By Ashok Selvam
Posted: September 27, 2012 - 11:45 am ET

A significantly higher percentage of physicians and nurses compared with other healthcare workers received flu vaccines in the last flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Just over two-thirds of all healthcare personnel (66.9%) received the influenza vaccine in the 2011-12 season, marking a 3.4 percentage-point increase from the season before, according to CDC statistics released Thursday. Hospital physicians, at 86.7%, and hospital nurses, at 78.1%, had the highest vaccination rates. Nurses at long-term-care facilities, at 50.2%, had the lowest rate. The federal government's Healthy People 2020 goal is a 90% flu vaccination rate for physicians.

"More widespread implementation of comprehensive influenza vaccination strategies for (healthcare personnel), focusing on those who are not physicians and nurses, will be needed to further increase overall coverage among (healthcare personnel)," the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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About 75.7% of healthcare workers ages 60 or older were vaccinated—the highest rate among all age groups. Coverage differed for staff at hospitals, 76.9%, versus those working at physician offices, 67.7%, and those working at long-term facilities, 52.4%.

Among the 33.1% of healthcare workers who didn't receive a flu vaccine, the top three reasons cited for not being vaccinated were that they thought they didn't need the vaccine (28.1%); they had concerns about the vaccine's effectiveness (26.4%); and they had concerns about side effects (25.1%).

Results were based on an Internet panel survey conducted this year.

More and more healthcare providers are mandating flu vaccinations for their workers. Earlier this month, 21-hospital Banner Health, Phoenix, announced it had implemented a vaccination requirement.

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