Nearly four out of five health care personnel in the United States received a flu vaccination during the 2016-2017 flu season, but a majority of those working in long-term care settings were not vaccinated, based on data from an Internet survey of more than 2,000 individuals that was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A total of 78.6% of the survey’s respondents said they’d been vaccinated during the 2016-2017 season. Vaccination coverage for health care personnel overall has remained in the 77%-79% range in recent years, but that represents an increase from 64% in 2010-2011.
“As in previous seasons, the highest coverage was among HCP whose workplace had vaccination requirements,” noted Carla L. Black, PhD, of the CDC, and colleagues ( MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Sep 29;66:1009-15 ). The researchers reviewed data collected from an Internet panel survey of 2,438 health care personnel between March 28, 2017, and April 19, 2017.
Physicians boasted the highest vaccination coverage in 2016-2017 (96%), followed by pharmacists (94%), nurses (93%), nurse practitioners and physician assistants (92%), other clinical providers (80%), nonclinical health care providers (74%), and aides and assistants (69%).
Flu vaccination rates were highest among HCPs working in a hospital setting (92%); 94% of survey respondents in hospitals reported either having a vaccination requirement at work or being provided at least 1 day of on-site vaccination.
Vaccination rates were lowest among health care personnel in long-term care settings (68%), where only 26% reported a workplace vaccination requirement. However, vaccination rates in long-term care rose to 90% when employers required vaccination.
The report’s findings were limited by several factors, including the use of a volunteer sample, the reliance on self-reports, and the potential differences between Internet survey results and population-based estimates of flu vaccination.
However, “in the absence of vaccination requirements, the findings in this study support the recommendations found in the Guide to Community Preventive Services , which include active promotion of on-site vaccination at no cost or low cost to increase influenza vaccination coverage among HCPs,” the researchers said.
The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.