There are a few things you can count on every October: playoff baseball, pumpkin-spiced versions of every conceivable food and drink, and reminders that you need your annual flu shot. Unfortunately, CDC data show that rates of influenza vaccination have stalled in recent years, increasing the likelihood of a deadly outbreak.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone over 6 months of age—but they're imperative for health care workers, who frequently come into contact with elderly or immunocompromised patients. Even so, many medical employees go unvaccinated.
In 2007, Einstein Healthcare Network, an academic medical center in Southeast Pennsylvania was struggling with this problem: Only 30% of its 8,500 employees had received a flu vaccine. But after they launched a comprehensive vaccination program, 98% of Einstein workers were vaccinated.
To learn more about the strategies behind the numbers, we spoke with the leaders who spearheaded the program:
- Christine Kramer, Project Manager, Employee Flu Vaccination; and
- Steven L. Sivak, MD, FACP, Chief Medical Officer, Key Champion of Universal Vaccination Program.