Flu vaccinations critical for healthcare workers, APIC warns

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Flu vaccinations critical for healthcare workers, APIC warns
Flu vaccinations critical for healthcare workers, APIC warns
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control released a statement Monday urging all healthcare workers to get vaccinated against both seasonal flu and H1N1. It also suggested recourse for workers who refuse the vaccine.

Because there will be more than one virus circulating during the 2009-2010 flu season, it is especially critical for healthcare workers to be vaccinated against all types of influenza, according to APIC. Without the inoculation, healthcare facilities could face increased patient infections at the same time as increased worker absenteeism. Those healthcare workers who do not wish to receive a vaccine due to non-medical reasons should be required to sign an informed statement, acknowledging the potential risk to patients, the organization recommended. "Appallingly low" healthcare worker inoculation rates suggest it's time to hold accountable those who refuse the vaccine, APIC President Christine J. Nutty said.

The World Health Organization said last weekend that the swine flu spreads at a rate four times faster than other viruses. Swine flu can travel the same distance in six weeks it takes a normal virus to cover in six months, according to WHO Director General Margaret Chan. She also pointed out that world production capability of swine flu vaccine is roughly 900 million doses per year—for a world population of 6.8 billion.

See more at www.apic.org/swineflu and www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu.