CDC Interim Results: H1N1 2009 and Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Health-Care Personnel

Silver Spring, Maryland–(ENEWSPF)–April 12, 2010.  The American Nurses Association (ANA) Dept. of Nursing Practice and Policy shares the following data and analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

According to a survey of almost 1,500 health care workers with direct patient contact, by mid January 2010, 64.3% reported having received either seasonal or monovalent 2009 H1N1 vaccine, but only 34.7% had received both vaccines. Estimated vaccination coverage was only 37.1% for 2009 pandemic influenza, but 61.9% for seasonal influenza vaccine. Those working in hospitals, ICUs, burn units, obstetric units, and with seriously ill patients were more likely to be vaccinated for both seasonal and pandemic H1N1 influenza, and rates for nurses were similar with other types of health professionals (physicians, dentists, and allied health care workers). CDC stresses that health care administrators should consider offering health care workers influenza vaccines as an important patient and worker safety initiative.

While the percentages represent an increase for coverage for seasonal influenza (typically around 50%), that for pandemic H1N1 was low, considering the vulnerability of the entire population and the occupational risk of exposure faced by health care workers. ANA continues to urge all nurses and the public to be vaccinated against H1N1 influenza, especially after recent reports of increases in hospitalizations for serious illness. The vaccine has proven safe and effective, and is widely available.