Atlanta, GA—Pharmacists are among the healthcare professionals most likely to be vaccinated against influenza, according to recent report from the CDC. Vaccination coverage in 2016–2017 was highest among physicians at 95.8%, followed by pharmacists at 93.7%. The flu immunization rate was 92.6% for nurses and 92% for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, according to the report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Much lower were rates for other clinical healthcare personnel (HCP), 80%, assistants and aides (69.1%), and nonclinical HCP (73.7%). 

In general, the CDC points out, in hospital settings, vaccination coverage was approximately 90% or higher in all occupational groups, including assistants and aides and nonclinical personnel.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all HCPs receive an annual influenza vaccination to reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality among patients and other staff members. An added advantage, it states, is reduced absenteeism.

he CDC recently conducted an opt-in Internet panel survey of 2,438 HCP to estimate influenza vaccination coverage in the United States during the 2016–2017 influenza season. Results indicate that 78.6% of survey respondents reported receiving vaccination during the time period, which was in line with reported coverage in the previous three influenza seasons.

As in the past, vaccination coverage remained higher among hospital employees (92.3%) and lower among HCP working in ambulatory care settings (76.1%), and even lower for those working in long-term care (LTC) at 68.0% settings. 

A key factor in having high rates of coverage was the flu vaccine being required for employment. Nearly all, 96.7% of healthcare staffers, received vaccines if required in their work settings. On the other hand, HCP working in settings where vaccination was not required, promoted, or offered on-site was a low 45.8%, the article states.

“Implementing workplace strategies found to improve vaccination coverage among HCP, including vaccination requirements or active promotion of on-site vaccinations at no cost, can help ensure that HCP and patients are protected against influenza,” CDC researchers note.

The public health agency points out that the overall influenza vaccination coverage estimate has increased 15 percentage points since the 2010–2011 season, and was similar to the 2013–2014 through 2015–2016 seasons.

The Internet panel survey of HCP was conducted for the CDC by Abt Associates, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, between March 28 and April 19, 2017, to provide estimates of influenza vaccination coverage during the 2016–2017 influenza season. 

The CDC has authorized similar surveys since the 2010–2011 influenza season. HCP were recruited from two preexisting national opt-in Internet sources: Medscape, a medical website managed by WebMD Health Professional Network, and general population Internet panels operated by Survey Sampling International (SSI).

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