June 10, 2013

Study: Flu shot mandates don't trigger staff exodus at hospitals

Daily Briefing

    Implementing a policy that requires all hospital workers to receive a flu vaccination as a condition of employment does not trigger excessive terminations, according to a four-year study of vaccination rates at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois.

    In 2009, Loyola implemented a vaccine policy crafted by a multidisciplinary task force. The policy established vaccination as a condition of employment and applied to hospital staff, as well as students, volunteers, and contractors. To encourage compliance, the communications staff sent staff-wide emails and displayed short videos on screens throughout the facility.

    At the annual meeting for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology on Sunday, researchers presented a study examining the impact of the vaccine policy.

    In the first year, 99.2% of hospital workers received the flu vaccine, while 0.7% of workers were exempted for medical or religious reasons. Just 0.1% of workers refused to get a vaccine and opted to terminate their employment.

    According to lead study author Jorge Parada, those numbers have held steady. In 2012, five workers refused to obtain a vaccination within the mandate period. However, three of those were unpaid volunteers who later agreed to get the shot and the remaining two were part-time workers.

    Overall, fewer than 15 of the 8,000 health workers at the hospital—including volunteers—refused to get vaccination and were subsequently terminated.

    "Near-universal flu immunization is achievable and sustainable with a mandatory vaccination policy," Parada concludes, adding, "Our employees and associates now understand that this is the way we do business. Just as construction workers must wear steel-toed boots and hard hats on job sites, healthcare workers should get a flu shot to work in a hospital" (APIC release, 6/7; Rodak, Becker's Hospital Review, 6/7; McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 6/7 [subscription required]).

    More from today's Daily Briefing
    1. Current ArticleStudy: Flu shot mandates don't trigger staff exodus at hospitals

    Have a Question?


    Ask our experts a question on any topic in health care by visiting our member portal, AskAdvisory.

    Cookies help us improve your website experience. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.