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TOPEKA—For the tenth straight year, the percentage of Kansas hospital personnel vaccinated against influenza continued to rise, far exceeding the national average, according to a recent survey of health care professionals conducted by the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative (KHC). The annual Health Care Personnel Influenza Immunization Survey conducted by KHC found that 93.9 percent of hospital personnel in Kansas received influenza vaccination for last year’s flu season.
That’s considerably better than the national average, which was 88.7 percent in 2017-18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which tracks rates nationally. Alaska had the lowest rate at 73.8 percent; Colorado had the highest rate at 97.6 percent. Only eight states and the District of Columbia had higher rates of flu vaccination among hospital personnel than Kansas.
The first statewide survey of hospital personnel was conducted by KHC for the 2008-09 flu season. Ten years ago the survey showed only 64 percent were vaccinated against flu.
“The flu can be serious, and by getting vaccinated, people working in health care settings are protecting not just themselves, but also their patients and the broader community,” said Kendra Tinsley, KHC executive director. “We are pleased at the progress achieved in hospitals all over Kansas over just a ten-year period. Yet we can do even better.”
KHC’s survey also found that hospitals with the highest vaccination rates are those with a policy making vaccination a condition of employment. Of the 138 facilities responding to the survey, 64 had such a policy in place, and another seven are currently developing a policy. Three in four facilities provided vaccinations on site, including on nights and weekends.
National Flu Vaccination Week
The CDC is encouraging the public to get vaccinated for flu during National Flu Vaccination Week, Dec. 2-8, 2018. The CDC warns that last flu season was one of the worst in recent years, with high levels of outpatient clinic visits and hospitalizations for flu-related illness, including 185 flu-related pediatric deaths. With few exceptions, the CDC strongly encourages everyone to be vaccinated each year for the flu to protect themselves as well as their family and vulnerable individuals in the community, such the elderly and young children. More information available at CDC.gov/flu.