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The implementation of mandatory influenza vaccination policies among healthcare personnel (HCP) is controversial. Thus, we examined the affect of mandatory influenza vaccination policies among HCP working in outpatient settings.
Four Veterans’ Affairs (VA) health systems and three non-VA medical centers.
We analyzed rates of influenza and other viral causes of respiratory infections among HCP working in outpatient sites at 4 VA health systems without mandatory influenza vaccination policies and 3 non-VA health systems with mandatory influenza vaccination policies.
Influenza vaccination was associated with a decreased risk of influenza (odds ratio, 0.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13–0.22) but an increased risk of other respiratory viral infections (incidence rate ratio, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.02–1.57).
Our fitted regression models suggest that if influenza vaccination rates in clinics where vaccination was not mandated had equalled those where vaccine was mandated, HCP influenza infections would have been reduced by 52.1% (95% CI, 51.3%–53.0%). These observations, their possible causes, and additional strategies to reduce influenza and other viral respiratory illnesses among HCP working in ambulatory clinics warrant further investigation.
To determine the effect of mandatory and nonmandatory influenza vaccination policies on vaccination rates and symptomatic absenteeism among healthcare personnel (HCP).
Retrospective observational cohort study.
This study took place at 3 university medical centers with mandatory influenza vaccination policies and 4 Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare systems with nonmandatory influenza vaccination policies.
The study included 2,304 outpatient HCP at mandatory vaccination sites and 1,759 outpatient HCP at nonmandatory vaccination sites.
To determine the incidence and duration of absenteeism in outpatient settings, HCP participating in the Respiratory Protection Effectiveness Clinical Trial at both mandatory and nonmandatory vaccination sites over 3 viral respiratory illness (VRI) seasons (2012–2015) reported their influenza vaccination status and symptomatic days absent from work weekly throughout a 12-week period during the peak VRI season each year. The adjusted effects of vaccination and other modulating factors on absenteeism rates were estimated using multivariable regression models.
The proportion of participants who received influenza vaccination was lower each year at nonmandatory than at mandatory vaccination sites (odds ratio [OR], 0.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.07–0.11). Among HCP who reported at least 1 sick day, vaccinated HCP had lower symptomatic days absent compared to unvaccinated HCP (OR for 2012–2013 and 2013–2014, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.72–0.93; OR for 2014–2015, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.69–0.95).
These data suggest that mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies increase influenza vaccination rates and that HCP symptomatic absenteeism diminishes as rates of influenza vaccination increase. These findings should be considered in formulating HCP influenza vaccination policies.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2018;39:452–461
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