Will carrots or sticks raise influenza immunization rates of health care personnel?

Academic Article


  • New Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations standards require health care organizations to implement staff influenza immunization programs and track employee immunization rates. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended influenza immunizations for health care workers since 1981, employee vaccination rates have stagnated at 30% to 40% for several years. With the recent attention on these low rates, some institutions have increased employee rates significantly with robust, multifaceted immunization programs. Others have attempted to require immunizations as a condition of employment. Declinations signed by those who refuse immunizations also have been proposed. This article examines recommendations for employee influenza immunizations and the evidence for effective strategies that increase coverage rates. With so much misunderstanding about the influenza immunization, robust interactive education, and onsite, easily accessible vaccination at no cost to employees-the carrots-may be more successful in increasing rates than are declinations and work exclusion-the sticks. Strong immunization programs may create the tipping point for making influenza immunizations as routine in health care as gloves. More robust staff immunization programs, evaluations of their effectiveness, surveillance of health care employee immunization rates, as well as further evidence of effectiveness of declinations and work exclusions should guide further policy formation and implementation. © 2007 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 23055508
  • Author List

  • Lugo NR
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 6
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 1