Influenza Vaccination Rates and Beliefs about Vaccination Among Nursing Home Employees

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Influenza, Vaccination, Long-term care facilities

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Background: Recent studies have suggested that vaccination of nursing home staff members may reduce the incidence of influenza among nursing home residents. Current national estimates of employee vaccination rates (around 50%) indicate that residents may be at an unnecessarily high risk of contracting influenza. This article reports on the influenza vaccination rates and attitudes toward the vaccine among employees in 37 nursing homes in 3 states.

Methods: Nursing home employees were surveyed at nursing homes in Florida, Georgia, and Wisconsin in 2011-2012. Completed surveys were received from a total of 1,965 employees.

Results: Approximately 54% of the employees surveyed received the vaccination during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 influenza seasons. Nursing home–level staff vaccination rates varied widely, from 15%-97%. Black and younger employees were less likely to receive the vaccine. Employee vaccination rates in nursing homes that used incentives were 12 percentage points higher than those that did not use incentives (P = .08).

Conclusion: Low vaccination rates among nursing home workers may put residents at increased risk for influenza-related morbidity and mortality. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may consider employee vaccination rates as a quality indicator in addition to resident vaccination rates. Our findings support the use of a trial to test the use of incentives to increase employee vaccination rates.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

American Journal of Infection Control, v. 43, issue 2, p. 100-106