The Flu and YouHealth Care Worker (HCW) Flu Vaccination and You
About 200,000 persons will be hospitalized for health conditions caused by the flu, and between 3,000 and 49,000 people will die from these conditions each year in the United States1-3
. Seniors are at especially high risk for severe illness and death related to the flu1-5
and persons in long term care facilities are at high risk for severe respiratory illnesses due to the flu6-14
.What Are Maryland Health Care Facilities Doing to Protect Patients?
Health care worker (HCW) vaccination is a very good way to slow down or prevent the spread of the flu in health care settings10-12, 15
, including long-term care settings. The research on this topic supports the idea that increasing health care worker vaccination reduces flu-like sickness 16, 18, 19
Maryland hospitals lead the way in health care worker vaccination rates, followed by Maryland nursing homes and then Maryland assisted living facilities. Hospitals have higher HCW flu vaccination percentages because nearly all hospitals in the state of Maryland have rules requiring HCW vaccination. Maryland assisted living facilities have the lowest HCW vaccination percentage although that percentage is higher than the national average. We at MHCC continue to work with these facilities to improve HCW vaccination.
You can protect yourself and your loved ones by getting your annual flu shot. Each year the flu season is different and can start as early as October and last as late as May. A yearly flu vaccine from your primary care physician, community health center or health clinic can help protect you and your loved ones from the flu. In recent flu seasons, 80-90% of persons who died from the flu was 65 years or older. Getting vaccinated against the flu is the best way to safeguard yourself and your loved ones from the potentially harmful effects of the flu20.
PROTECT YOURSELF. GET A FLU SHOT!
The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) monitors and reports on HCW worker vaccination in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. The MHCC is proud to report that the average percentage of Maryland HCWs receiving the flu shot has exceeded the national average for the last five flu seasons. The Maryland hospital personnel flu vaccination rate trended over the last seven flu seasons is shown below.
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|2.|| CDC. Estimates of deaths associated with seasonal influenza---United States, 1976--2007. MMWR 2010;59:1057--62.|
|3.|| Thompson WW, Shay DK, Weintraub E, et al. Influenza-associated hospitalizations in the United States. JAMA 2004;292:1333--40.|
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|13.|| Bridges CB, Kuehnert MJ, Hall CB. Transmission of influenza: implications for control in health care settings. Clin Infect Dis 2003;37:1094--101.|
|14.|| Sartor C, Zandotti C, Romain F, et al. Disruption of services in an internal medicine unit due to a nosocomial influenza outbreak. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2002;23:615--9. |
|15.|| Saito R, Suzuki H, Oshitani H, et al. The effectiveness of influenza vaccine against influenza a (H3N2) virus infections in nursing homes in Niigata, Japan, during the 1998--1999 and 1999--2000 seasons. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2002;23:82--6.|
|16.|| Lemaitre M, Meret T, Rothan-Tondeur M, et al. Effect of influenza vaccination of nursing home staff on mortality of residents: a cluster-randomized trial. J Am Geriatr Soc 2009;57:1580--6.|
|17.|| Carman WF, Elder AG, Wallace LA, et al. Effects of influenza vaccination of health-care workers on mortality of elderly people in long-term care: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2000;355:93--7.|
|18.|| Hayward AC, Harling R, Wetten S, et al. Effectiveness of an influenza vaccine programme for care home staff to prevent death, morbidity, and health service use among residents: cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2006;333:1241.|
|19.|| Potter J, Stott DJ, Roberts MA, et al. Influenza vaccination of health care workers in long-term-care hospitals reduces the mortality of elderly patients. J Infect Dis 1997;175:1--6.|
|20.|| Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). May 25, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm|