Influenza vaccine coverage among U.S. health care personnel increased very slightly during the 2015-2016 flu season, with 79% reporting that they received the shot, compared with 77% in 2014-2015.
Hospital personnel were most likely to be covered (91%) and long-term care personnel least likely to be covered (69%), Carla L. Black, PhD, wrote in the Sept. 30 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (). Coverage among health care personnel working in long-term care settings did increase, however, from 64% in the 2014-2015 seasons to 69% in the 2015-2016 season, Dr. Black and colleagues noted.
“Although low, this is the only setting with an appreciable increase in coverage, compared with last season. Influenza vaccination among health care personnel in long-term care settings is especially important because influenza vaccine effectiveness is generally lowest in the elderly,” according to Dr Black, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC conducted the Internet survey of 2,258 health care workers from March to April, 2016.
Physicians had the highest level of coverage (95.6%), while health care assistants and aides had the lowest (64.5%). Employers also exerted an influence on coverage. Most respondents (73%) were vaccinated at work. Coverage was highest (96.5%) at facilities where vaccination was required and lowest (45%) where vaccination was not required, promoted, or offered on site.
“Employer vaccination requirements likely contributed to the observed gradual increase in vaccination among health care personnel working in settings with the lowest coverage,” the investigators noted. “In the absence of vaccination requirements, expanding the number of health care locations offering vaccination on site, over multiple days, and at no cost might help sustain and improve influenza vaccination coverage among health care personnel, including in long-term care settings.”
As a CDC employee, Dr. Black has no financial conflicts.