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Report: Only 50 Percent of Hospital Workers Vaccinated Against Flu



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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, September 02, 2010

Only about half of the hospital workers in California have been vaccinated for influenza.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that at least sixty percent of all hospital employees receive flu vaccinations.

Consumers Union finds only fifty two percent of hospital workers in California have been vaccinated. The non-profit publishes Consumer Reports magazine. It bases it's findings on California Department of Public Health records. Consumers Union's Betsy Imholtz says that level of vaccination is unacceptable:

"It's not nearly enough to prevent vulnerable patients who are in the hospital already in a weakened state from getting flu," says Imholtz. "We really need to have a much higher percentage. "

Vaccination rates at individual hospitals vary. Some report over ninety percent inoculation against the flu. State law requires hospitals to provide their workers with access to the flu vaccine, but employees can chose not to take the shot.

Many hospital worker unions and trade associations have objected to mandatory vaccinations.  Many groups oppose the idea of forced vaccinations, while some question the motives of pharmaceutical companies.

You can find the vaccination rates for your local hospital by selecting the PDF file on this page.

MOST SACRAMENTO AREA HOSPITALS SHORT OF FEDERAL GUIDELINES

As for local hospitals, here are the vaccination rates compiled by Consumers Union:

UC Davis Medical Center 69.7%

Kaiser South Sacramento 77% 

Kaiser Sac-Roseville in Roseville 46.7%

Kaiser Sac-Roseville in Sacramento 59.0%

Sutter Davis 44.9%

Mercy General 58%

Sutter Roseville 55.6%

Like 21% of California's hospitals, Sutter General and Sutter Memorial did not report enough information to determine flu vaccination rates among their employees.

UPDATE FROM UC DAVIS:

Karen Finney of UCD writes in that the data used by Consumers Union is outdated. There have been other questions raised about the data used by CU. For their part, CU says they are just using what's publicly available, which, according to the CDPH website, is true.  

Here's what Finney says:

"For these years, we are not able to divide the School of Medicine from hospital-based employees as we did in the attached PDF, however the outreach during these years was primarily targeted to hospital-based and School of Medicine employees who have patient-care responsibilities. There was a much more comprehensive outreach campaign last year to give more employees the option of receiving both vaccines, given the H1N1 pandemic.

2008-2009
9,231 School of Medicine and hospital employees
Compliance for seasonal influenza vaccine - 86% (71% vaccinated, 15% declined)

2007-2008
8,000 School of Medicine and hospital employees:
Compliance for seasonal influenza vaccine - 62% (46% vaccinated, 16% declined)

UC Davis has really stepped up efforts in past two years to increase flu vaccination compliance."

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