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Changes in Influenza Vaccination Requirements for Health Care Personnel in US Hospitals.

Greene MT, Fowler KE, Ratz D, Krein SL, Bradley SF, Saint S. Changes in Influenza Vaccination Requirements for Health Care Personnel in US Hospitals. JAMA Network Open. 2018 Jun 1; 1(2):e180143.

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Importance: Annual influenza vaccinations are currently recommended for all health care personnel (HCP) to limit the spread of influenza to those at high risk of developing serious complications from the virus. Vaccination coverage has been shown to be significantly greater among employers requiring and encouraging HCP to receive the annual influenza vaccination. Objectives: To compare the proportion of respondent hospitals requiring HCP to receive annual influenza vaccination between 2013 and 2017 and to assess the degree to which these proportions differed between Veterans Affairs (VA) and non-VA hospitals. Design, Setting, and Participants: This national survey study included responses from 1062 infection preventionists between 2013 and 2017 from nationally representative samples of all VA and non-VA hospitals in the United States. Data analysis was conducted from November 17, 2017, to March 26, 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures: Survey response indicating hospital requirement for annual influenza vaccination of HCP. Results: The overall response rate for the 2013 survey was 69.3% (non-VA, 70.6% [403 of 571]; VA, 63.5% [80 of 126]) and in 2017 was 59.1% (non-VA, 59.1% [530 of 897]; VA, 58.9% [73 of 124]). Among all responding hospitals, mandatory influenza vaccination requirements for HCP increased from 37.1% in 2013 to 61.4% in 2017 (difference, 24.3%; 95% CI, 18.4%-30.2%; P? < .001). This change was driven by non-VA hospitals, as requirement policies increased from 44.3% (171 of 386) in 2013 to 69.4% (365 of 526) in 2017 (difference, 25.1%; 95% CI, 18.8%-31.4%; P? < .001). Conversely, there was no significant change during this period in the proportion of VA hospitals that required influenza vaccinations for HCP (1.3% [1 of 77] to 4.1% [3 of 73]; difference, 2.8%; 95% CI, -2.4% to 8.0%; P? = .29). Conclusions and Relevance: Despite a substantial increase in mandates among non-VA hospitals, we found that many non-VA hospitals and nearly all VA hospitals are still not currently mandating influenza vaccinations for HCP. In addition to implementing other well-described strategies to increase vaccination rates, health care organizations should consider mandating influenza vaccinations while appropriately weighing and managing the moral, ethical, and legal implications.

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