Image of someone getting a flu vaccination

APIC Supports Required Annual Flu Immunization for Health Care Workers

In response to the low rates of influenza immunization among health care personnel, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has announced its support for requiring flu immunization for health care workers who have direct patient contact as well as ancillary staff.

APIC further recommended that health care facilities obtain informed statements acknowledging the risk to patients from employees who decline the vaccine for reasons other than medical.

The recommendations, published in the APIC position paper "Influenza Immunization of Healthcare Personnel," states that health care facilities should implement a comprehensive strategy incorporating all of the guidelines for influenza vaccination of health care personnel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

"We must do a better job of immunizing health care workers every year to ensure patient safety and protect those individuals at high risk of developing complications of influenza," said Linda R. Greene, RN, MPS, CIC, lead author of APIC's position paper and director of infection prevention and control at Rochester General Health System. "Despite longstanding recommendations by government agencies and national healthcare organizations, only 42 percent of healthcare workers receive yearly flu vaccines. Voluntary efforts are clearly not effective--it's time for hospitals and other healthcare facilities to require influenza immunization."

Influenza is a highly contagious disease that can be spread before symptoms appear. If a health care worker contracts the flu, they may spread influenza infection to patients and other workers before realizing they are sick. CDC estimates that influenza results in 226,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually in the United States.

APIC recommendations for influenza immunization apply to health care personnel in acute care hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, physician's offices, urgent care centers, outpatient settings, and home health settings. All employees with direct patient contact should be immunized annually including physicians, nurses, therapists, dieticians, religious workers, housekeeping, and kitchen staff.

According to a recent poll of APIC members, the rate of flu immunization among infection preventionists--health care professionals who direct programs to reduce the risk of infection in their facilities--is 93 percent, well above the 42 percent rate for all health care workers.

"As infection preventionists we must lead efforts to implement proven strategies to ensure that all health care workers are immunized," Greene said. "By following a set of evidence-based measures, institutions can significantly raise yearly flu immunization rates and protect patients, employees, and their families from serious illness."

To access the APIC position paper, click here. For additional flu immunization information, click here.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Reserve your copy of the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get a detailed, fact-based comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • Best Practices to Navigate ISO 45001

    Learn helpful tips and tricks to navigate your transition to ISO 45001 certification and ensure an effective health and safety management system.

  • Improve Your Safety Culture

    Learn the 3 fundamental areas to focus on to achieve safety culture excellence and what you can do to boost employee engagement in your EHS programs.

  • Chemical Safety: 5 Questions Answered by Experts

    Get answers to 5 of the most frequently asked questions about how to effectively mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your chemical data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management technology program.

  • How Has COVID-19 Changed Safety Culture?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has provided unique opportunities for health and safety professionals to rethink how they manage risk and develop stronger safety cultures. Read this eBook to learn actionable steps you can implement today to improve your programs.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January February 2021

    January February 2021

    Featuring:

    • TRAINING: SOFTWARE
      Tips for Choosing the Best Training Software
    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Assessing the Dangers of Dust Explosions
    • HAND PROTECTION
      Pushing the Boundaries of Hand Protection
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Getting a Grip on Slip Resistance
    View This Issue