CDC: Flu vaccinations among LTC workers declining

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While influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers have increased overall, fewer long-term care facility employees are being vaccinated, a government survey has found.

Employee vaccination rates in long-term care facilities (LTCF) fell from 64% in the 2010-2011 flu season, to 52% during the 2011-2012 flu season, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. Vaccination rates were highest among hospital physicians (87%) and hospital nurses (78%) during the same time period.

Higher vaccination rates during the 2011-2012 season were associated with employer vaccine requirements, employer promotion of vaccination and vaccinations offered at no cost over multiple days. The agency noted vaccinations are particularly important in long-term care facilities because elderly residents are at a higher risk for flu-related complications.

Vigorous debate among long-term care workers over receiving a flu vaccination can be seen in the comment section for a July Real Nurse Jackie blog.

To increase vaccination coverage in nursing homes, the CDC recommends that each facility should develop  “a comprehensive intervention strategy that includes education and promotion to encourage vaccination and easy access to vaccine at no cost. Educational programs should include emphasis on vaccination effectiveness and its safety, knowledge of influenza transmission.”

Click here to read the full report.

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