State Report Finds Slight Uptick in Flu Shot Rates Among Hospital Workers
The flu vaccination rate among California hospital workers has risen slightly since the 2009-2010 flu season, according to a report by the California Department of Public Health, the Contra Costa Times reports.
A nationalÂ benchmark recommends that by 2020, all hospitals have at least a 90% vaccination rate among their employees.
In 2006, California began requiring hospitals to offer employees flu shots at no costÂ and to obtain signed agreements from workers who opt not to receive the vaccination.
Health experts say it is important for most hospital employees, including administrative and maintenance workers, to receive inoculations because of the likelihood that they will pass patients in hallways and share elevators and other common spaces with them.
The report found that 64.3% of hospital workers across the state received the flu vaccination for the 2010-2011 season, up from 62.6% in the 2009-2010 flu season.
Vaccination rates varied from one hospital to another, even within the same regions, according to the report. For example, in the South Bay region, Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose had a 91% vaccination rate, while Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy had a 53% vaccination rate.
The report includes data on employees under hospital employment, including many nurses, administrative workers, clerical staff and maintenance workers. The report's figures do not include flu shot rates forÂ many physicians, who typically are not employed by hospitals.
The report stated that many hospitals might need to develop stronger vaccination policies.
Loriann DeMartini, a consultant to the state's Center for Health Care Quality, said that those policies could include:
- Requiring that hospital workers wear a mask;
- Assigning non-immunized employees to work in areas where they will not have contact with patients; and
- Putting an indicator on employees' badges when they are not vaccinated (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 12/17).