News & Events

Joint Commission to Healthcare Workers: Get Flu Vaccine

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Joint Commission Resources (JCR) has launched a Flu Vaccination Challenge to encourage hospital leadership to increase flu vaccination rates among healthcare workers.

The Flu Vaccination Challenge begins in September and will continue through May 2009. Hospitals that achieve a vaccination rate of 43 percent or more will be recognized by JCR.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the 2005-2006 flu season, only 42 percent of surveyed healthcare workers received a flu vaccination. In past years, healthcare workers have been implicated as the potential source of flu infections in hospitals.

The Flu Vaccination Challenge highlights the connection between flu vaccinations and patient safety, said Barbara Soule, RN, MPA, CIC, and practice leader of infection prevention and control services for JCR.

“Doctors, nurses, technical and administrative staff may care for patients with compromised immune systems including the elderly and people living with a chronic disease,” she said. “As a professional devoted to ‘do no harm,’ flu vaccination gives me an opportunity to help protect my patients by decreasing the chances that I will get the flu and pass it along to my patients.”

The flu is a serious disease that can be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends an annual flu vaccination for a number of groups, including adults at high risk of complications from the flu and those who are in contact with them, including healthcare workers.

Efforts to increase vaccination coverage among healthcare workers are supported by various national accrediting and professional organizations including The Joint Commission, and JCR, a not-for-profit affiliate of The Joint Commission.

Since January 1, 2007, The Joint Commission has required accredited hospitals, critical access hospitals and long-term-care organizations to offer on-site flu vaccinations annually to staff and licensed independent practitioners.

Flu viruses are mainly spread from person to person via airborne particles from coughing or sneezing. Transmission may also occur through direct or indirect contact, such as when touching something already laden with the flu virus, then touching the eyes, nose or mouth. The flu is a contagious and potentially deadly infection.

According to the CDC, annual flu vaccination is the most effective method for preventing the flu virus infection and its complications

For more information about the JCR challenge, click here.