OTTAWA, July 27 (UPI) — Campaigns can help persuade healthcare workers to get seasonal flu shots but requiring the unvaccinated to wear masks also works, Canadian researchers say.
Dr. Larry Chambers of the Elisabeth Bruyere Research Institute in Ottawa and colleagues says seasonal influenza immunization rates among healthcare workers in Canada remain less than 50 percent, but it is recommended that at least 90 percent of those in healthcare who deal with patients be immunized to protect against the seasonal flu virus.
The researchers conducted a systematic review of 12 studies on healthcare seasonal flu vaccinations, but they did not look at pandemic influenza programs.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says in one hospital campaign in which staff completed a mandatory electronic form to decline vaccination, immunization coverage increased to 55 percent compared to the previous nine years which had rates of 21 percent to 38 percent.
However, when unvaccinated personnel were required to wear masks, seasonal flu vaccination rates increased from 33 percent to 52 percent.
“This review revealed gaps in the literature about the appropriate components to use to increase influenza immunization among health care personnel,” Chambers says in a statement.
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