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Many medical organizations and physicians argue that health care workers have an ethical obligation to protect themselves and their patients from influenza.“The fundamental concept is that influenza vaccination for health care workers is both an ethical and professional obligation because it is a patient safety issue,” said William Schaffner, MD, MACP, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., examines the relationship between state laws regulating flu vaccines for health care workers and the state-level immunization rates among health care workers between 2001-2011.From 2000 to 2005, only two states, Maine and New Hampshire, had flu vaccine requirement laws for health care workers.During that period, the average flu vaccination rate for health care workers was 22.5%.In 2006-2011, when 19 other states passed their laws, the average vaccination rate for health care workers increased to 50.9%.“There are numerous nosocomial outbreaks of influenza traced back to an infected health care worker that have been documented in the literature.” In addition, a 2014 meta-analysis in reported that nearly all included studies showed a benefit in patients' all-cause mortality when facilities increased influenza vaccination rates among health care workers.The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the CDC, and other groups have long recommended yearly vaccination of health care workers to reduce health care-acquired influenza.

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Each flu season, nearly 111 million workdays are lost because of the flu, the US Department of Health & Human Services has found.That represents approximately billion per year in sick days and lost productivity.It's no wonder that some companies are considering requiring that employees get a flu vaccine every flu season.At the time, fewer than three-quarters of health care workers got a regular flu shot.Now, faced with the threat of losing one's job, flu vaccination rates are up above 99% at hospitals that require them.

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