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A Message from the Public Health Service about the Importance of Influenza Vaccination

by Published On: Dec 08, 2011

The Public Health Service (PHS) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a letter to long-term care medical directors earlier this month in conjunction with National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 4-10), urging them to support vaccination of health care personnel as a means of preventing influenza outbreaks in nursing facilities. 

The letter notes that high rates of employee vaccinations have been shown to reduce the influenza mortality of nursing home residents by 30% to 40%.  While the letter acknowledges that vaccination rates among health care personnel have been increasing slowly over time, vaccination rates among health care personnel in long-term care facilities ranges from 50% to 65%, well below the national Healthy People 2020 target of 90%. 

The PHS recommends that providers consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources for approaches to increase vaccination rates among health care personnel.

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