CDC: Peers, free shots boost healthcare worker flu vaccinations

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Providing flu shots for free and recruiting peer "boosters" will likely increase healthcare worker flu vaccination rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Better vaccination of healthcare workers would lower workers' flu rates and missed workdays, while also lowering the harm rate for residents and strengthening the bottom line for providers, notes a report in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the CDC.  "Influenza vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in the United States remains low," the CDC says, citing a 40.1% figure for 2003, the most recent statistics available. In previous years, the worker vaccination rates were 10% (1989) and 34% (1997), according to the CDC.  One state-led project in California illustrated that employee-education campaigns were not as effective as designated free, convenient "Vaccine Days" were for raising employee inoculation rates. In another studied scenario, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota emphasized education and vaccine accessibility for the 2003-04 flu season and saw it's vaccination rate climb to 76.5%.