Website spotlight: AHA adds its voice to call for mandatory flu shots

Nurse Leader Insider, November 7, 2011

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How to sell mandatory flu shots to hospital staff

Add another voice to the call for mandatory influenza vaccinations for healthcare workers.
This time the voice isn't coming from the bleachers, but rather from the box seats, as the endorsement is from the American Hospital Association (AHA), a group made up of hospital and healthcare executives.

In April, the AHA's board of trustees approved a new policy urging its members to institute a mandatory flu shot policy for healthcare workers. To protect the lives and welfare of patients and employees, the AHA said it "supports mandatory patient safety policies that require either influenza vaccination or wearing a mask in the presence of patients across healthcare settings during flu season."

That's welcome news to infection preventionists, who have been battling to get healthcare workers vaccinated against influenza each season. "I can say it in one word: Hallelujah!" says Peggy Prinz Luebbert, MS, MS(ASCP), CIC, CHSP, a consultant and owner of Healthcare Interventions in Omaha, NE, who works with healthcare organizations across the country.

"It sets a standard for the nation of what hospitals should be doing," says Deborah L. Wexler, MD, executive director of the Immunization Action Coalition in Saint Paul, MN. "The AHA is another major organization that is being added to the ranks of those doing the right thing for patient safety."

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