SafetyShare® newsletter brought to you by the Premier Safety Institute ®
Gina Pugliese, RN, MS, editor
Protect yourself, your patients, loved ones and co-workers.
Get your flu vaccination
Flu seasons are unpredictable
The severity of influenza seasons can differ substantially from year to year. Yearly flu-associated deaths in the U.S. over the past 30 years range from
3,000 to 49,000 people. Up to 20 percent of the population can be infected with the flu and more than 200,000 people may be hospitalized during a flu
season. The 2009 H1N1 pandemic is an example of how unpredictable flu can be.
You can infect others without symptoms!
Recent research suggests that flu can be passed on 24 hours before any symptoms occur. Also, some people can be infected with the flu virus and have no
symptoms at all or only respiratory symptoms without fever but still spread the virus to others.
Healthcare staff vaccination – a patient safety imperative
Flu can spread rapidly in healthcare settings and vaccination of healthcare staff has been shown to reduce flu infection and absenteeism among staff,
prevent mortality in their patients and result in financial savings to sponsoring health institutions. When healthcare staff are vaccinated vulnerable
patients are protected. However, only an estimated 67 percent of all healthcare staff received influenza vaccination during the last flu seasons (2011-12).
CMS requires hospital reporting of staff vaccination rates
Acute care hospitals participating in the CMS IPPS Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting program will be required to submit data on influenza vaccination of
healthcare staff via the NHSN module beginning on January 1, 2013 for the 2012-2013 influenza season. Data must be reported for all employees on the
payroll, licensed independent practitioners (physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants affiliated with the hospital but not on
payroll), and students, trainees, and volunteers aged 18 or older.
Professional groups recommend mandatory vaccination
Mandatory vaccination of healthcare staff is recommended by a number of professional groups, including AAFP, AAP, AHA APIC, IDSA, NPSF and SHEA.* When flu
vaccination is required for healthcare staff, vaccination rates are up to 94 percent compared to only 60 percent without a requirement. For those not
required to be vaccinated, rates were higher when vaccination was offered on-site, free of charge for more than one day, and when personally reminded.
Tips for successful vaccination programs
The Immunization Action Coalition maintains a list with case studies of champion healthcare organizations who have taken the lead in mandating staff
influenza vaccination. Toolkits
for implementing mandatory programs are available from the National
Influenza Vaccine Summit.
More than half of Americans were not vaccinated
Flu vaccination is recommended by the CDC
for everyone older than 6 months and for people who care for children too young to get the flu vaccine, but at high risk of serious flu illness. Sadly,
only half (43 percent) of Americans were vaccinated last flu season (2011-2012). This year’s flu vaccine will protect against three viruses expected to be
most common this season, two influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2) and an influenza B virus.
Locate a flu clinic
If your employer does not offer flu vaccine, locate a flu clinic near you and get vaccinated. The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for
everyone 6 months and older as the best way to protect against influenza. Annual vaccination is needed because flu vaccine immunity
declines over the year. Enter your zip code and find a clinic near you.
*American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Physicians (ACP). American Hospital Association
(AHA), American Pharmacy Association (APhA), Association for Professional in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), Infectious Disease Society of
America (IDSA) National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA)
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