Mandatory employee vaccination as a strategy for early and comprehensive health care personnel immunization coverage: Experience from 10 influenza seasons

Christopher Blank, Nancy Gemeinhart, W. Claiborne Dunagan, Hilary M. Babcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Influenza is responsible for thousands of deaths in the United States and presents particular challenges in health care facilities with a greater prevalence of people at increased risk for adverse outcomes. Annual influenza vaccination has long been recommended, and employer policies influence the likelihood health care personnel are immunized. Methods: This is a review of vaccination data maintained by a large health care organization to assess the effects of a mandatory health care personnel vaccination policy implemented during 2008-2009. Vaccination rates, timing of immunizations, and requests for medical or religious exemptions were assessed from 2006-2007 to 2017-2018. Results: The health care personnel vaccination rate was 70% during the influenza season before the mandatory policy was implemented and increased to 98.4% immediately afterward. Vaccination rates exceeded 97% during the subsequent 9 years. Religious and medical exemptions decreased at academic medical centers and remained consistent at community hospitals. Among immunized employees, the peak date for vaccination shifted to late September or early October compared to late October or early November before the mandatory policy. Conclusions: Requiring vaccination led to sustained increases in staff vaccination coverage at academic medical centers and community hospitals. The mandatory policy also appeared to encourage earlier vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Health care personnel vaccination
  • Influenza
  • Influenza vaccination
  • Influenza vaccination policy

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