Most older adults say nursing homes should require flu shots for patients, staff

More than 70 percent of adults between 50 and 80 years old believe nursing home medical staff should be required to get an influenza vaccine, according to the results of a nationally representative survey conducted by researchers with the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

For the online poll, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 in October 2017. Seventy-three percent of respondents said medical staff in nursing homes should be required to be vaccinated against influenza, 71 percent said non-medical staff should also be required to get vaccinated, 61 percent said nursing home residents should be required to get the vaccine, and 25 percent said visitors should be required to get the flu vaccine.

"We've finally gotten to the point in the last few years where most inpatient hospitals require their staff to get vaccinated against the flu, or at least strongly promote it," said Preeti Malani, MD, a professor of internal medicine at U-M Medical School and director of the poll. "These results suggest that other types of care facilities should do the same to protect vulnerable patients — or potentially risk losing business. I encourage everyone to ask nursing homes and other long-term care facilities about their vaccination policies."

Influenza causes between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC.

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Top 10 infection control stories for December

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