Flu vaccination rates for LTC could be boosted with availability, promotion, study finds

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People who work in healthcare facilities are nearly twice as likely to get a flu vaccine than people working in other industries, although long-term care continues to lag, according to new research.

A study in the April issue of the American Journal of Infection Control found workers in the healthcare field to have the highest vaccination rate, at 62.3% of those surveyed. Those in farming, fishing and forestry landed last on the list, at 13.7%.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said their findings are “especially important for healthcare personnel” since they're more likely to be exposed to the flu and possibly spread it to people who have a high risk of influenza-related complications.

When the findings were broken down further to look at long-term care settings, vaccination coverage dropped to 48.4%, the study's authors said.

“[Workers] in long-term care facilities have been most likely to report that their employer neither required nor promoted influenza vaccination and least likely to report that their employer made influenza vaccination available at no cost for multiple days,” the study reads.

The researchers noted that vaccination among long-term healthcare professionals could be improved if facilities offered free, onsite and actively promoted flu vaccinations for employees.