Study: Most hospitals do not require staff to get flu shots

Although flu season is upon us and incidents of the virus are expected to increase rapidly in coming weeks, more than half of U.S. hospitals do not have requirements in place for their clinicians to receive vaccinations, according to an Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology paper.

Only 42.7 percent of 386 hospitals that responded to a 2013 survey conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, said their organization required providers to be vaccinated. About 10 percent of respondents said their facilities would require it by the following season.

There are multiple national recommendations in place urging all healthcare workers to get vaccinated, as they are likely to come into contact with the flu virus more regularly during patient treatment and are more likely to pass it to other patients. Despite these recommendations, only 1.3 percent of VA hospitals reported making vaccination a requirement.

"Mandated vaccinations are not a simple panacea and will continue to be met with challenges and opposition for numerous reasons," M. Todd Greene, PhD, lead author of the new study and a research investigator at U-M and the VA, said in a statement. "But our findings suggest that opportunities remain for many healthcare organizations to require vaccination of their staff to increase coverage rates."

Hospitals reported staff opposition to mandated vaccinations and the willingness of administrators to implement mandates as reasons for the lack of requirements. Of non-VA hospitals respondents, 22 percent said their hospitals "strongly encouraged" all providers to get vaccinated. More than half of the VA hospitals said they could not implement vaccine mandates because they are part of a federal system.

"Vaccination of healthcare workers has been shown to significantly reduce patients' risk of influenza and its complications, including pneumonia and death, compared with vaccination of patients alone," Sanjay Saint, MD, senior author of the new study, professor internal medicine at U-M and chief of medicine at the VA Ann Arbor, said in a statement. "To put it bluntly, American hospitals have a lot of work to do."

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars