247788 Requiring annual vaccination of health workers against influenza -- Why?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jo Anne Bennett, RN, PhD , New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, New York, NY
Jeanne A. Matthews, PhD, RN , Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies and Arlington Public Health Division, Washington, DC
Nonceba Lubanga, RN, MPH , Office of Child and Family Health, NYC Administration for Children's Services, New York, NY
Derryl E. Block, PhD, MPH, RN , University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI
Diane Downing, RN, PhD , School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Judy Gibson , 1600 Clifton Road, NE, CDC/CCID/NCHSTP, Atlanta, GA
In 1989, APHA took a leadership role with its recommendation that that institutions that train health professionals, deliver health care, or provide laboratory or other medical support services require appropriate immunizations for personnel at risk for contracting or transmitting vaccine-preventable illnesses. The next decade saw little progress in raising vaccination coverage of health workers. But since the turn of the century, other professional associations have increasingly called for such requirements, as more and more providers/employers implement requirements each year. A growing literature demonstrates the essential role of requirements in achieving vaccination coverage that is adequate for community protection (herd immunity) in health care settings--to ensure both worker safety and patient safety. In 2010, APHA explicitly reaffirmed its position vis a vis influenza vaccination by an 82% vote of the Governing Council that explicitly rejected individuals' declining vaccination for nonmedical reasons. Preceding the vote, multiple state affiliates, caucuses, and Sections endorsed the position statement, including the Public Health Nursing Section (who initiated the proposal), the Epidemiology Section, the School Health Services & Education Section, the Health Administration Section, the HIV/AIDS Section, the Aging and Public Health Section, the Environment Section, the Medical Care Section, the Vision Care Section, the Maternal Child Health Section, the Health Law SPIG, and members from the Ethics SPIG and the Public Health Education and Promotion Section. This poster will summarize the 4-pronged rationale that provides the foundation for recommending requirements: ethics, social justice, law, and science (including epidemiology, vaccinology, and infection control).

Learning Areas:
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Occupational health and safety
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the rationale for requiring health workers to be immunized against seasonal influenza.

Keywords: Immunizations, Accountability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I chaired the PHN Section work group that prepared the 2010 proposal for APHA position statement addressing this issue.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.