Wide variations in influenza vaccine coverage have been noted across healthcare personnel based on occupation and worksite, according to research published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted an internet survey of 2265 healthcare personnel from March 27 to April 17, 2018, similar to surveys conducted in the past 8 years. Survey responses were weighted based on the distribution of the US healthcare personnel population by occupation, age, sex, race, ethnicity, work setting, and Census region.
In total, 78.4% of healthcare employees received an influenza vaccination in the 2017-2018 flu season — a 15 percentage point increase from the 2010-2011 season. This rate was similar to the 2016-2017 season across work setting and occupation groups.
Those working in hospital settings had the highest rate of vaccination, followed by personnel working in ambulatory care, other clinical settings, and long-term care settings (91.9%, 75.1%, 74.9%, and 67.4%, respectively). By occupation, physicians had the highest rate of vaccination, followed by pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners and physician assistants (96.1%, 92.2%, 90.5%, and 87.8%, respectively. Healthcare assistants and aides had the lowest rate of vaccination, at only 71.1%.
Employer-required vaccination resulted in the highest coverage (94.8%), but only 44.1% of healthcare employees reported a workplace mandate to be vaccinated; those working at hospitals were the most likely to report vaccination requirements (68.3%), while those working in long-term care were the least likely (29.6%).
“Influenza vaccination among healthcare personnel working in long-term care settings, the majority of whom work as assistants and aides, continues to be consistently lower than that among healthcare personnel working in all other healthcare settings,” the researchers noted. “Influenza vaccination among healthcare personnel in long-term care settings is especially important because influenza vaccine efficacy is generally lowest among the elderly, who are at increased risk for severe disease.”
“Implementing comprehensive evidence-based worksite intervention strategies is important to ensure healthcare personnel and patients are protected against influenza,” the researchers concluded.
Black CL, Yue X, Ball SW, et al. Influenza vaccination coverage among health care personnel — United States, 2017-18 influenza season. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1050-1054.