Fewer flu outbreaks for nursing homes with vaccinated workers, study reports

Share this article:
CDC to families: Press long-term care staff to get vaccinated for flu
CDC to families: Press long-term care staff to get vaccinated for flu
Nursing homes with higher rates of flu vaccinations among direct caregivers have a dramatically lower number of flu outbreaks, a new study finds.

The study confirms previous studies and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that have encouraged vaccinating healthcare workers against influenza. But researchers in this University of Oklahoma study say that, until now, they weren't certain about the extent to which these vaccinations protect residents. Their study, conducted in 75 New Mexico nursing homes, discovered that when between 51% and 75% of direct care workers in a facility were vaccinated, the odds of a flu outbreak in that facility decreased by 87%.

However, the researchers, who studied rates for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 flu seasons, also found that higher rates of residents who received flu vaccines were associated with a higher probability of flu outbreaks. This was an unexpected finding, they noted.

"While the explanation is likely multi-factorial, we suspect a large factor is that facilities with high resident vaccination rates may over-rely on the direct protection bestowed by vaccinating the residents and under-value the indirect protection bestowed by vaccinating employees," said the study's lead author, Aaron Wendelboa, Ph.D. The study was published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
Share this article:

More in News

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause disastrous care transitions, expert warns

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause ...

What may appear to be minor administrative problems in a nursing home - a fax machine locked away at night or no one designated to copy paperwork - can cause ...

Long-term care facilities approach 80% worker flu vaccination rate after handing power ...

Fourteen long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania dramatically increased their staff flu vaccination rate by having a regional pharmacy take over the process, according to a report issued Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHQR).

RACs were 'most improved' healthcare auditors for getting back money in 2013, ...

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors dramatically stepped up their overpayment recoveries last year, returning nearly $487 million more to the government than they did in 2012, according to a new report from a federal watchdog agency.