Mandatory Influenza Vaccination Policy
In late 2011, the CHA Board of Trustees adopted a statewide policy endorsing mandatory flu vaccination of hospital staff as part of CHA hospitals’ commitment to patient safety. In February 2012, nearly 150 attendees representing 29 acute care hospitals attended a CHA member briefing featuring a multidisciplinary group of presenters from the five Connecticut hospitals who had already made flu vaccinations mandatory: St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Hospital of Saint Raphael, Griffin Hospital, Middlesex Hospital, and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The hospitals shared their experiences and reiterated their commitment to improving patient safety through mandatory vaccination of staff.
Adoption of a Statewide Policy on Mandatory Influenza Vaccination of Healthcare Personnel
Increasingly, key national organizations are endorsing—and hospitals across the country are embracing—the establishment of policies to mandate influenza vaccination for healthcare personnel as an important strategy for keeping patients safe. Vaccinating healthcare personnel prevents transmission of flu to patients, reduces patient mortality, and reduces the risk that staff will become infected, which helps ensure a healthcare workforce during disease outbreaks.
Despite efforts to promote staff vaccination by hospitals, government agencies, regulatory groups, and professional societies, national flu vaccination rates of healthcare workers remain around 50%, leading to recommendations on the part of prominent organizations for more aggressive action to protect patients, specifically recommendations for mandatory influenza vaccination of healthcare workers as a core patient and healthcare worker safety practice.
Several Connecticut hospitals have already made influenza vaccination mandatory, requiring all employees regardless of position to be vaccinated unless a valid medical reason contraindicating vaccination exists, in which case the employee must wear a mask.
The Committee on Patient Care Quality of the CHA Board recommended the Board’s adoption of a statewide policy endorsing mandatory vaccination, having discussed the typical objections to mandatory vaccination—including “personal rights,” legal questions, ethics questions, employee relations concerns, enforcement concerns, and union resistance—and concluding that a staff member’s right to decline the vaccine should not trump a patient’s right to a safe care environment.
Adoption of Statewide Policy
The CHA Board of Trustees has adopted a statewide policy endorsing mandatory influenza vaccination for hospital personnel as part of CHA hospitals’ commitment to patient safety. The Committee on Patient Care Quality will seek opportunities to work with other organizations and groups, such as the Connecticut Infectious Disease Society, on promoting mandatory vaccination of healthcare personnel.
Approved by the CHA Board of Trustees
November 21, 2011