Foundation says not enough healthcare workers get flu shot

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Merely 36% of healthcare workers receive influenza vaccinations annually, despite a federal recommendation since 1986 that such workers be immunized, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases said. The foundation, calling the figure "dismal," cited studies showing that influenza immunizations lead to fewer deaths among nursing home patients.

The foundation urged an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take stronger action to increase compliance. It also urged healthcare organizations to administer the vaccinations.

The flu kills an average of 36,000 people annually and hospitalizes 114,000. Unvaccinated workers in nursing homes and long-term-care facilities, among other settings, can be a major cause of outbreaks, the foundation said.