Influenza vaccination rates for healthcare personnel mostly trended upward during the most recent flu season, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC conducted an internet panel survey in 2012 to provide national estimates of end-of-season influenza vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel in the United States.
Overall, 66.9% of HCP reported having had influenza vaccination for the 2011-12 season, an increase of 3.4% over estimates from the season before. Vaccination coverage was highest among physicians (86.7%) and nurses (78.1%) working in hospitals, and lowest among HCP other than physicians or nurses in long-term care facilities (50.2%).
Among 373 nurses surveyed, 77.9% reported receiving the vaccination. That mark was an increase of 8.1% points over the previous year. The coverage rates were 78.1% for hospital nurses, 75.6% for nurses in physician offices and 72.2% for nurses in long-term care facilities. The rates for nurses in hospitals and physician offices were increases over the previous year. The previous years rate for nurses in long-term care facilities was not available.
Among healthcare personnel who reported not receiving the vaccine, the most commonly cited reasons were a belief they did not need it (28.1%), concern about vaccination effectiveness (26.4%) and concern about side effects (25.1%).
More widespread implementation of comprehensive influenza vaccination strategies for HCP, focusing on those who are not physicians and nurses, will be needed to further increase overall coverage, according to the CDC.
“A comprehensive intervention strategy that includes targeted education, promotion to encourage vaccination, easy access to vaccine at no cost on multiple days and routine monitoring can increase HCP influenza vaccination coverage,” according to the report.
Beginning in January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will require acute care hospitals to report HCP influenza vaccination levels as part of the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (www.qualitynet.org/dcs/ContentServer?cid=1138115987129&pagename=QnetPublic%2FPage%2FQnetTier2&c=Page).
The report appears in the Sept. 28 edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. To read it, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6138a1.htm?s_cid=mm6138a1_w.