Multiple Interventions Boost Healthcare Worker Seasonal Flu Immunization Rates

Multiple Interventions Boost Healthcare Worker Seasonal Flu Immunization Rates

<p>Campaigns to increase seasonal influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers in Canada that include a combination of interventions had the greatest effect on increasing vaccine coverage, according to a study published in the July issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).</p>

Campaigns to increase seasonal influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers in Canada that include a combination of interventions had the greatest effect on increasing vaccine coverage, according to a study published in the July issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Seasonal influenza immunization rates among healthcare workers in Canada remain below 50 percent, yet it is recommended that all healthcare workers (at least 90 percent) should be immunized to protect against the flu virus.

Combined education/promotion and improved access to vaccines resulted in higher increases in vaccination rates amongst long-term care home workers. In one hospital campaign in which staff completed a mandatory electronic form to decline vaccination, immunization coverage increased to 55 percent compared to the previous nine years where rates ranged from 21 percent to 38 percent. When unvaccinated personnel were required to wear masks, rates increased to 52 percent from 33 percent.

"This review revealed gaps in the literature about the appropriate components to use to increase influenza immunization among health care personnel," writes Dr. Larry Chambers of the Elisabeth Bruyére Research Institute in Ottawa, with coauthors.

The study, a systematic review of 12 studies, did not look at pandemic influenza programs.

The authors conclude that more studies with multiple campaign components are needed to assess the most appropriate influenza vaccination programs.

Reference: Lam PP, Chambers LW, Pierrynowski DM, and McCarthy AE. Seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns for health care personnel: systematic review. Can. Med. Assoc. J., Jul 2010; doi:10.1503/cmaj.091304

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