Monday, September 1, 2014

A Systematic Review of Mandatory Influenza Vaccination in Healthcare Personnel

Here is an article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that provides the most up to date assessment of mandatory influenza vaccination of healthcare workers.

This can be a very emotionally charged subject for many people. What evidence is there to support mandating the influenza vaccines in healthcare workers?Twelve observational studies were included in the study from 778 citations. The data suggest that implementation of a vaccine mandate will without doubt increase vaccination of healthcare workers, exceeding 94%. 

But what are the health benefits for healthcare providers and patients? This is much less clear. Two single-institution studies reported limited, inconclusive results on absenteeism among healthcare workers. We still cannot answer whether vaccination will result in fewer sick days by staff. Importantly, no studies reported on clinical outcomes among patients. 

We simply do not know if mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers will result in improved patient safety as the appropriate studies have not been done.

Mandatory influenza vaccination of healthcare workers is not backed by sound evidence, either for staff or patient outcomes. This is disappointing and mandatory vaccination may be an overreach.

Fortunately, the vaccine is safe.

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