Over 36% of healthcare workers are not having their flu vaccinations, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 84% of doctors have been vaccinated compared to 70% of nurses. The authors say that healthcare workers need to get vaccinated, not only to protect themselves but also family members and patients.

The report also revealed that 71.1% of healthcare professionals who work in hospitals have been immunized compared to 61.5% of those working in ambulatory or outpatient centers. Only 53.6% of HCPs (health care professionals) who work in homes and 53.6% in other centers have had the flu jab.

Older HCPs have much higher vaccination rates - 74.2% of those aged at least 60 years, compared to 57.8% for 30-44 year olds, and 56.4% among 18 to 29 year olds. Race/ethnicity was not found to be a factor.

Beliefs among HCPs regarding the flu vaccine:
  • 94.7% of vaccinated HCPs think it is worth the expense and time
  • 45.8% of unvaccinated HCPs think it is worth the expense and time
  • 89.1% of vaccinated HCPs think the jab also protects those around them
  • 44.6% of unvaccinated HCPs think the flu vaccine protects those around them
  • 92.7% of HCPs who had the flu jab thought it would protect them from flu
  • 54.2% of HCPs who did not have the flu jab thought it would protect them from flu
  • 70.1% of vaccinated HCPs believe the flu is a serious threat to their own health
  • 34.2% of unvaccinated HCPs believe the flu is a serious threat to their own health
  • 94.8% of HCPs who got the flu jab think it is safe
  • 66.2% of HCPs who did not get the flu jab think it is safe

Employer's impact on vaccination rates

The report revealed that employers have a considerable impact on vaccine rates among HCPs.
  • 13% of HCPs have to be vaccinated - it is an employer requirement.
  • 98.1% of HCPs working for employers that require flu jabs have been vaccinated
  • 58.3% of HCPs working for employers without a flu jab requirement have been vaccinated
  • Of HCPs whose employer had no requirement, but offered to provide the jab onsite, 69.9% were vaccinated if they were sent a personal reminder, compared to 59.5% who did not get a personal reminder.
  • 67.9% of HCPs got vaccinated when it was available at no charge, compared to 41.2% for those who had to pay - when employers had no flu jab requirement.
  • Overall, 85.5% of HCPs whose employers required flu jabs for their staff were offered free vaccinations onsite on multiple occasions.

Flu Vaccines, illness incidence, and absenteeism

The authors of the report say that vaccinating HCPs against the flu has been demonstrated to minimize absenteeism and illness and well as reducing influenza transmission to other health care professionals, family members, and patients.

Written by Christian Nordqvist