20 October 2008
APIC “Infection Preventionists” Support Requiring Flu Vaccine for Healthcare Workers
On October 9th the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) “announced its support for requiring flu immunization for healthcare workers who have direct patient control as well as ancillary staff. APIC further recommended that healthcare facilities obtain informed statements acknowledging the risk to patients from employees who decline the vaccine for reasons other than medical”.
The 3-page APIC Position Paper can be found on the homepage of APIC at www.apic.org
APIC cites US survey data showing that only 42% of health care workers received the flu vaccine in 2005-06 (Fiore AE et al. MMWR 2008; 57 (RR7): 1-50). The CDC has recommended, but not required, annual flu vaccination since 1981, according to the APIC position paper.
This position paper also states that “multiple studies show that 70% or more of HCP (health care professionals) continue to work despite being ill with influenza, thus exposing patients to the virus”.
APIC cites work showing that ”at least two randomized controlled studies have demonstrated decreased mortality in patients cared for by HCP who receive the vaccine” (JAMA 2000; 284:1655-63).
These recommendations by APIC apply to “all medical and non-medical personnel in contact with patients” who work in “acute care hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, physician’s offices, urgent care centers, outpatient clinics, and to persons who provide home health care.”
Hopefully, there will be a clear-cut response to APIC’s recommendations (soon) on the part of hospital organizations, hospital finance administrators, ethicists, and most of all, health care workers to this proposal.
Daniel R. Lucey, MD, MPH
EROne Institutes, Washington Hospital Center
Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Georgetown University Medical Center
Website for this posting: www.BePast.org