SAN DIEGO — Once the rate of influenza-vaccinated healthcare workers reaches about 50%, there is no further reduction in the rate of patients with hospital-acquired influenza, a new study shows.
"It's not that we should stop vaccinating, because it's still a benefit to healthcare workers, but we should be focusing on other interventions to reduce nosocomial influenza," said investigator Brandon Dionne, PharmD, from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque.
"At a certain point, you don't have a real return on vaccination for reducing nosocomial flu, and we should look to things like hand-washing, better screening of patients, and better isolation precautions," he told Medscape Medical News.
The study results were presented here at the Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2015.
In their retrospective, cross-sectional study, Dr Dionne and his team found no overall association between the rate of vaccinated healthcare workers and nosocomial influenza.
During the five flu seasons from 2010 to 2015, there was a significant increase in the rate of vaccinated healthcare workers at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (P < .001).
However, the rate of hospital-acquired influenza — defined as infections diagnosed at least 48 hours after admission in patients who presented to the hospital without influenza-like symptoms in the previous 24 hours — plateaued once about half the healthcare personnel were vaccinated.
In contrast, the Healthy People 2020 objective calls for the mandatory immunization of 90% of healthcare personnel. And a policy statement on infectious diseases just issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics declared that influenza vaccination should be mandatory for all healthcare personnel (Pediatrics. Published online September 7, 2015).
Dr Dionne has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) 2015: Abstract I-296. Presented September 18, 2015.
Medscape Medical News © 2015 WebMD, LLC
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Cite this: Benefit of Healthcare Worker Flu Shots Questioned - Medscape - Sep 22, 2015.