Mandatory Influenza Vaccination Policy

Susan Davis, EdD, President and Chief Executive Officer, St. Vincent's Health Services

Background

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.

In 2011, 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.

Board Action

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.

Current Status

As of fall 2013, 22 Connecticut hospitals have made the 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.

  • CHA Board Chairman Susan Davis, RN, EdD
  • Chris O’Connor, President and CEO, Hospital of Saint Raphael
  • Ken Schwartz, MD, Medical Director, Griffin Hospital
  • Arthur McDowell III, MD, Vice President, Clinical Affairs, Middlesex Hospital