State laws on hospital flu shots linked to fewer flu deaths

The implementation of state laws that require hospitals to offer employees a flu shot, or that require staff to get vaccinated, are linked to lower flu death rates, a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found.

For the study, published Jan. 5, researchers from the University of Georgia in Athens used CDC data spanning 1995 to 2017 to assess each state's flu and pneumonia mortality rate during peak flu season. 

Over the study period, 13 states and Washington, D.C., adopted laws requiring hospitals to offer hospital employees the flu vaccine. Eleven of these states also required workers to get vaccinated or document their refusal. 

The implementation of these laws was linked to a 2.5 percent drop in monthly flu and pneumonia rates, researchers found. On average, adoption of such a law cut mortality by about 2 deaths per 100,000 persons, and the reductions mainly occurred among older populations.

"The elderly are extremely vulnerable to influenza and are also generally less responsive to the vaccine," study author Emily Lawler, PhD, assistant professor in UGA's School of Public and International Affairs, said in a news release. "This study suggests that vaccinating hospital workers against influenza reduces influenza disease transmission and helps protect this vulnerable population."

Click here to view the full study. 

More articles on public health:

1 in 5 US residents has STD, CDC finds
US aims to vaccinate 1.5 million daily; Brazil variant found in Minnesota — 5 COVID-19 updates
States ranked by percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered: Jan. 26

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