Immunization policies among allied health programs: Evidence of immunity and allowance of vaccination exemptions
Monday, November 4, 2013
: 12:42 p.m. - 12:54 p.m.
Background: Unvaccinated or non-immune students training to become healthcare personnel (HCP) are at risk of acquiring or transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) among other students and to patients when they undertake clinical rotations involving patient contact. Purpose: This study aimed to characterize allied health programs (AHPs) by their immunization policies, specifically for acceptable forms of evidence of immunity, vaccination exemptions permitted, and immunization tracking methods. Significance: To determine the consistency of immunization policies at AHPs with the vaccination recommendations for HCP of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Methodology: Data were collected between September 2011 and April 2012 using an internet-based survey emailed to a staff member at accredited AHPs. Analysis was limited to those programs requiring ≥1 vaccines recommended by the ACIP for HCP which included: MMR, hepatitis B, varicella, pertussis, and influenza. Weighted bivariate frequencies were generated using a statistical software package. Results: Of the 2775 programs surveyed, 74.8% responded; of responding programs, 93.3% (1947) required ≥1 ACIP -recommended vaccinations. The proportion of programs accepting ≥1 non-ACIP recommended forms of evidence of immunity varied by vaccine: 9.2% for MMR, 18.2% for varicella, 21.8% for hepatitis B, 42.0% for pertussis, and 36.5% for influenza. Medical exemptions were permitted for ≥1 vaccines by 74.7% of programs, 54% permitted religious exemptions, and 34.8% permitted personal belief exemptions. Conclusions: Many programs accepted non-ACIP-recommended forms of evidence of immunity which could lead some students to believe they are protected from VPDs when they may be susceptible.
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
List the acceptable forms of evidence of immunity for those vaccines which are recommended for healthcare personnel by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Keyword(s): Immunizations, Policy/Policy Development
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the lead authors for the analysis of immunization policies among allied health programs conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. My team specializes in policy evaluation and conducts research which contributes to the recommendations formed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
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.