Doctors are more likely to get flu shots than nurses

Health care workers more likely to get shots when offered for free

More than nine in ten physicians got a flu vaccination during the last flu season, while nurses' level of vaccinations lagged somewhat behind, according to a report in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

For the report, CDC researchers surveyed nearly 2,000 health care workers in April and found that overall, 72% of them said they had been vaccinated for the 2012-2013 flu season. In the previous season, only 66.9% of health care workers were vaccinated, CDC says.

Researchers also found that in the 2012-2013 flu season:

  • 92% of physicians said they had the flu vaccine;
  • 89% of pharmacists were vaccinated;
  • 88.5% of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) were vaccinated; and
  • 85% of nurses were vaccinated.

The report—which was released during a National Foundation for Infectious Diseases news conference—also found that all health care workers were more likely to be vaccinated if the vaccine was offered at no cost. According to the report:

  • 86% were vaccinated at work over multiple days vaccinations were offered;
  • 76% were vaccinated at work on one day vaccinations were offered; and
  • 53% were vaccinated, but their employer offered no on-site or free vaccinations.

Coverage was highest among hospital-based health care workers (83%) and lowest among workers at long-term care facilities (58.9%).

"We really want everyone working around patients to be vaccinated to protect not just themselves and their families but the people they take care of who are often so vulnerable," said Anne Schuchat, CDC's director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease. She added that "[w]e have not made progress in this population."

HHS assistant health secretary Howard Koh—who also was present at the news conference—said flu vaccination "represents the simple investment that we can make year in and year out to maximize the gift of health" (Morbidity and Mortality Report, 9/27; UPI, 9/26; Johnson, Modern Healthcare, 9/26 [subscription required]).

Next in the Daily Briefing

Scientists still puzzled, worried by deadly MERS outbreak

Read now