Preventing influenza infections is a national health priority, particularly among geriatric and adults with frailty who reside in post-acute and long-term care settings. Older adults account for more than 70% of deaths from influenza, a reflection of decreased vaccine effectiveness in that age group.
Annually vaccinating healthcare personnel working with these patients is critical to reducing influenza morbidity and mortality among patients. Post-acute and long-term care professionals have the lowest influenza vaccination rate when compared to healthcare professionals in other settings. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all healthcare professionals receive an annual influenza vaccination, including those who do not have direct patient care responsibilities.
“As healthcare professionals, it is important to get our flu shot each year. We can be a positive example by encouraging our loved ones, residents/patients and others to follow our example. The strongest predictor of whether or not a person gets vaccination is whether or not they get a strong provider recommendation. While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen this fall and winter, the CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. Getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. As we approach National Immunization Awareness Month, let’s do our part and take a simple step to help keep our colleagues and those we care for safe and healthy,” offered Michelle Lauckner, RN-BA, CADDCT, CDP, RAC-CT, IP-BC; Great Plains QIN Quality Improvement Advisor [pictured].
Access the Journal of Post Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMA) Special Article for support of influenza vaccination for healthcare professionals, recommendations for influenza vaccination practice and procedures for post-acute and long-term care setting and support to post-acute and long-term care setting and their staff on influenza vaccinations.