Report: Nearly Half of Calif. Hospital Workers Did Not Obtain Flu Shots
Only 52.4% of health care workers in California hospitals received a flu shot last year, according to a new report from the advocacy group Consumers Union, the Los Angeles Times' "Booster Shots" reports.
The report used data from the state Department of Public Health obtained through a Public Records Act request.
Recommendations, State Law
CDC recommends that all health care workers receive flu shots to prevent the spread of influenza among patients.
Earlier this week, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America released a paper recommending that all hospital workers receive flu vaccinations as a condition of their employment (Maugh, "Booster Shots," Los Angeles Times, 9/2). The report appeared in the latest edition of the journal Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology (Lillis, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/1).
In 2006, California began requiring hospitals to offer no-cost flu shots to their workers. In 2008, the state mandated that hospitals report their vaccination rates and flu shot refusal rates to DPH. The health department was slated to begin publicly reporting the data by March of this year, but has yet to do so.
According to the Consumers Union report, about 31% of California hospitals failed to report their vaccination rates as required.
The report also found that:
- Two-thirds of hospitals had a health worker vaccination rate of less than 60%, which is the 2010 goal set by HHS;
- 3.3% of California hospitals had a vaccination rate of less than 25%; and
- 1.6% of hospitals had a vaccination rate of higher than 80%, which is the level that some experts recommend to prevent in-hospital flu transmission ("Booster Shots," Los Angeles Times, 9/2).
Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of DPH's Center for Healthcare Quality, said the Consumers Union report was "inaccurate" and relied on insufficient information.
Billingsley said DPH "is committed to providing the public with accurate and complete influenza vaccination information." She added that the department expects to release the 2008-2009 vaccination reports by the end of this month and publish the 2009-2010 data by the end of the year (Weintraub, HealthyCal, 9/2).
On Thursday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on flu vaccination rates among California's hospital workers (Sepulvado, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 9/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.