Influenza Vaccination for Health Care Professionals
In Nov. 2003, the American Medical Association (AMA) participated, along with numerous other stakeholders in influenza prevention, in a national roundtable on influenza immunization for health care professionals.
This roundtable was hosted by the National Foundation on Infectious Diseases (NFID) and resulted in an important document, called the "Influenza Immunization Among Health Care Workers: A Call to Action." This document is an executive summary of the roundtable meeting attended by more than two dozen of the nation's leading health care organizations. The roundtable reviewed influenza vaccination policies and practices aimed at health care workers and explored the best ways employers and professional organizations can positively affect vaccination rates of employees.
Only 36 percent of all health care professionals are immunized against influenza each year, despite long-standing recommendations for annual vaccination.
Several factors lead to low influenza vaccination rates among health care workers, including lack of awareness among health care workers that they are one of the groups urged to get an annual influenza vaccine, lack of access to the vaccine, vaccine cost, misperception that influenza is not a serious disease, and low awareness/lack of concern about the potential spread of the virus to patients. Influenza causes an average of 36,000 deaths and 114, 000 hospitalizations per year.
The "Call to Action" urges health care institutions and other health care organizations to take measures that ensure health care workers are provided convenient access to influenza vaccine. The report also calls on employers to develop programs and allocate resources toward institutionalizing immunization in the workplace.
Among other key points, the document urges that measures to be taken to ensure health care workers are provided convenient access to influenza vaccine and that employers of health care workers commit programs and resources toward institutionalizing immunization in the workplace. The Call to Action also recommends professional health care agencies develop policies to support health care worker influenza immunization and encourage members to educate health care workers about the benefits of vaccination and the potential consequences in influenza illness to patients and themselves.
The NFID has stated that they welcome other organizations that also support this initiative to contact them so that their group's name to the list of supporters already listed in this document.
Hard copies of the Call To Action may be obtained by e-mailing the NFID's communications firm, Cooney/Waters; please indicate desired quantity and shipping address/contact information.
Call To Action (PDF, 128KB)