FAQs [May 2013]

Pennsylvania Health Care Personnel Universal Influenza Vaccination Campaign
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on (HCP) Influenza Vaccination Policies & Procedures
May  2013

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Background
Despite longstanding recommendations concerning seasonal influenza vaccination for health care personnel (HCP) and the implementation of intensive voluntary vaccination campaigns in health care institutions, HCP influenza immunization rates are still unacceptably low. The average 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccination rate was 63.5% among HCP in the United States, far below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 90%. In contrast, the vaccination rate was 98.1% among HCP who had an employer requirement for seasonal influenza vaccination. No other policy or campaign to promote HCP influenza vaccination has consistently achieved equivalent success.

In 2010, only 10 hospitals and 5 nursing homes in Pennsylvania had achieved the Healthy People 2020 goal of 90% seasonal influenza vaccine coverage.  In light of this unacceptably low vaccine coverage, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in collaboration with the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition (PAIC), the Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy (CVEP) at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PSA), launched a continuing effort to promote evidence-based universal influenza vaccination initiatives for HCP which encourages healthcare institutions to make this vaccination a condition of employment.

As part of this imitative, the Pennsylvania Department of Health held consultative meetings with major professional associations, hospitals and long-term care facilities to identify best practices for improving vaccine coverage among Pennsylvania’s healthcare workforce. Using lessons learned from the consultative meetings, case studies examining institutions where required immunizations had been implemented, and other supporting research, PADoH conducted regional trainings with hospitals and health care system staff in mid-2011 in an effort to share best practices and learn about challenges hospitals face in trying to strengthen facility vaccination programs. During the trainings,  experiences and lessons learned were shared and several questions were raised. This FAQ was developed, in part, to address questions that were commonly asked during and after the trainings. More at:  http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1008994&mode=2

About this FAQ
This compilation of FAQs is intended to support healthcare institution leaders as they explore, adopt, implement and refine universal influenza immunization programs and policies involving their healthcare personnel (HCPs) and other employees generally.

This FAQ is anchored on peer-reviewed literature and other evidence. Where appropriate, article abstracts are referenced and incorporated into the answer, and, in some case, excerpts from the full article are included. A number of key journal articles published in the last several months addressing various issues have improved the precision of this FAQ overall. An updated version will be published later this year before the 2013-14 influenza season.

While we hope that this FAQ is very useful, it  should not be understood to be exhaustive. We expect that new questions may be added, and that questions and answers presented here will evolve and be refined over time. Each FAQ carries a date to identify when the FAQ was developed or updated.

Observations, ideas, new evidence and challenges to any FAQ below (or ideas for additional FAQs) should be directed to David R. Curry, MS, Executive Director, Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy (CVEP) at david.r.curry@centerforvaccineethicsandpolicy.org.  CVEP is collaborating with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) and other healthcare institutions in this overall initiative.

Note: This document has been developed for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional or institutional judgment. The information and perspectives presented here do not represent policy prescriptions of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy, or other institutions involved in the Universal Flu Vaccination Initiative.

Important Resources and Links

Pennsylvania Department of Health – INFLUENZA VACCINE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=556688&mode=2

Pennsylvania Department of Health – More information about influenza and recommendations on prevention and treatment can be found at the following links:

Recommendations for Child-care Facilities

Recommendations for the Home

Recommendations for Businesses

Recommendations for Healthcare Facilities and EMS

Recommendations for Schools

Pennsylvania Department of Health Healthcare Personnel Influenza Vaccination Honor Roll: 2011 – 2012 Influenza Season
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1008994&mode=2

Toolkits to assist administrators in achieving the goal of universal HCP influenza vaccination are available through these links:
–      http://www.haponline.org/quality/flu-campaign
–      http://www.flufreepa.com
–      http://paHCPfluvax.org

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