California Hospitals Exceed Healthcare Worker Vaccination Goal

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that California hospitals have reached the goal of vaccinating 60 percent of their healthcare workers against influenza.

"Weve been working with partners in the health care industry to promote greater vaccination acceptance among their employees" says Dr. Mark Horton, director of CDPH. "Our goal for 2010 has been for 60 percent of hospital employees to receive influenza vaccine, and theyve done it. This means California hospitals are safer places for patients and workers during flu season."

A CDPH report released Dec. 30, 2010 shows an employee vaccination rate of 62.6 percent for reporting hospitals. California law requires hospitals to offer onsite influenza vaccination free of charge to employees. Employees can opt not to get vaccinated, but must do so with a written declination. Horton reaffirmed his commitment to work with hospitals to encourage vaccination for everyone who works in a hospital setting.

Horton urged all hospitals to report influenza vaccination rates, as required by law, and to strive for even greater vaccination acceptance among employees. "Our new goal should be to vaccinate 80 percent or greater of healthcare workers and other employees working in health facilities," he says.

Influenza vaccination is recommended for all Californians six months of age or older. This year's vaccine will protect against the H1N1 strain and two other seasonal influenza strains, H3N2 and influenza B. In addition to getting vaccinated, CDPH recommends everyone help prevent the spread of influenza by washing hands often, covering coughs and sneezes with your sleeve, and staying home when sick.