Taking Another Shot At The Flu Vaccine

Mon, 02/06/2012 - 7:48am
Shefali S. Kulkarni

Despite nearly 20 years of recommendations that health workers get flu shots, the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that less than 64 percent of them do. Consumer and business groups met in Washington Thursday to show their support for a recommendation from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) that hospitals require all health care workers to be vaccinated annually against the flu.

“We believe that patients have the right to assume that health care personnel, themselves, will take all reasonable measures to reduce and avoid transmission of preventable diseases including the flu,” said Helen Darling, president and CEO of the NBGH. “I think we, as people, assume that after all, they’re our caretakers and we look to them for care and treatment.”

The NBGH is a non-profit organization representing more than 300 large employers, including 68 of the Fortune 100 companies. Its statement urged hospitals to“require annual flu vaccination of all employees as a condition of employment unless employees can demonstrate medical contraindications (with physician documentation) or religious objections.” If that is the case, the NHBG says those employees “should not engage in direct patient care if they have flu-like symptoms.”

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