The 2018–2019 flu season is over—according to the calendar, though new cases continue to be reported. As such, it’s a good time to assess the effectiveness of campaigns to drive immunization rates among healthcare workers. According to data from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), issuing a requirement for healthcare workers to get a flu shot both increases the proportion of staff who do so and lowers the rate of individuals who get the flu. CHOP started tracking their results when they first issued the mandate 10 years ago, leaving room for medical or religious exemptions. The proportion of CHOP employees who got a flu shot increased from 91% in 2008 to 99.3% in 2018; the rate of exemptions requested dropped from 2.5% to 0.3% in that same time period. Most important, the rate of healthcare-associated flu cases went from a median of 16.8 to 5.2 over the 10-year span. CHOP presented the data at the recent Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of American Spring Conference. If you haven’t made getting a flu shot a requirement among the staff in your urgent care center, consider whether these data give you one more reason to do so.
The Data Are in: Requiring Flu Shots Ups Compliance, Lowers Flu Rates in Healthcare Workers