On SAGE Insight: Flu in the workplace: a study on employee vaccinations

Article details: The Benefits and Challenges of the Influenza Vaccination Among Home Health Care Workers

 From Home Health Care Management & Practice

Each year, the influenza virus is responsible for a significant number of hospitalizations and deaths, particularly of the elderly. For this reason, it is critical that health care workers who interact with this patient population protect themselves and their patients from the influenza virus. The most effective solution to preventing the acquisition and transmission of the influenza virus between health care workers and their patients is to receive a yearly influenza vaccine. This study assessed the impact of increasing employee compliance with vaccinations and aimed to determine why certain employees refuse vaccinations. This was an observational study that looked at employee vaccination rates, employee sick days, and responses to an employee survey of those who refused vaccinations.

 Abstract

Home health care agencies provide services to some of the most vulnerable patients and must encourage influenza vaccinations of their employees. The current study assessed the impact of increasing employee compliance with vaccinations and aimed to determine why certain employees refuse vaccinations. This was an observational study that looked at employee vaccination rates, employee sick days, and responses to an employee survey of those who refused vaccinations. Data were collected at a large not-for-profit home health care agency in the northeast that provides services primarily to Medicare patients. Vaccination compliance and sick days information were collected on all employees of the home care agency over three flu seasons (2012-2015). Survey data were collected on employees (n = 240) who refused the influenza vaccination during the 2014-2015 flu season. The agency more than doubled vaccination rates from 38% to 88% and found a corresponding reduction in staff sick time. By surveying the “refusers,” it was found that the common reasons for avoiding vaccinations were beliefs of not being in a high-risk group, not needing vaccine, being healthy and never getting the flu, and not liking injections. It is clear that a concerted effort to increase employee influenza vaccination rates can be successful and possibly decrease staff sick days. However, there seems to be a small group of employees who refuse vaccination. Better education of these employees should help eliminate the common reasons people decline vaccination.

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Article details
The Benefits and Challenges of the Influenza Vaccination Among Home Health Care Workers
Robert J. Rosati, PhD, Michael Zales, MPH, Steven Landers, MD, MPH
First Published February 22, 2016
DOI: 10.1177/1084822316628797
From Home Health Care Management & Practice

 

     
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