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Feds asking for healthcare worker flu shot advice

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is asking for comments on a draft guidance for achieving a 90% influenza immunization rate for healthcare workers by 2020.

The guidance document is from the National Vaccine Advisory Committee [1] (NVAC), and the request for comments appeared in the Federal Register, December 19.

In brief, the five recommendations for healthcare employers (HCE) are:

  1. Establishing influenza infection prevention programs recommended by the CDC to achieve the Healthy People 2020 influenza vaccine coverage goal of 90%.
  2. Integrating influenza vaccination programs into existing infection prevention programs or occupational health programs, including the Public Health Service, HHS staff and Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  3. Standardizing the methodology used to measure influenza vaccination rates across various healthcare settings, and working with CMS to implement incentives, penalties, or requirements that facilitate adoption of this recommendation.
  4. After implementing steps 1-3 above and still not achieving a 90% influenza vaccination rate, HCEs should strongly consider an employer requirement for influenza immunization.
  5. Improving influenza vaccine research, development, and licensure, including the rapid production of existing influenza vaccines.

Comments are sought by a broad range of stakeholders having interest in influenza vaccination coverage among healthcare workers, such as:

The comment period ends January 16th, 2012. Click here for the draft guidance and a link to comment. [2]

Do you think this action by the HHS makes mandatory flu shots for all healthcare workers more likely? Let us know in the comment section below.