A dozen states have legal guidelines requiring that well being care employees, with some exceptions, be vaccinated every year for influenza. Minnesota seems in no hurry to affix them.
While some badysis has emerged to counsel that immunizing well being care employees protects sufferers at hospitals and residents at long-term care services, the proof isn’t robust sufficient to take the considerably drastic step of a mandate, mentioned Kris Ehresmann, who directs immunization applications for the Minnesota Department of Health.
“If we’re going to mandate something,” she mentioned, “we want to have all of the data on our side, because it’s not something we take lightly.”
A 2013 research highlighted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies solely average proof that immunizing well being care employees reduces the possibility of their sufferers dying from influenza, and solely low-grade proof that this prevents sufferers from needing extra hospitalizations. The CDC nonetheless recommends vaccinations for well being care employees.
Instead of a mandate, Minnesota’s Health Department makes use of a blue ribbon incentive program to encourage hospitals and long-term care services to supply vaccinations and to get 70 % or extra of their workers immunized earlier than every flu season.
Last yr, 149 hospitals or nursing houses participated within the state FluSafe program, and 67 had employee vaccination charges of 90 % or larger.
But the outcomes aren’t all the time fairly. A labor union sued earlier this fall when Duluth-based Essentia Health tried to attain a 90 % vaccination charge by requiring that employees be immunized.
Ehresmann mentioned that each side ought to work collectively on an answer. “They’re thinking of it in terms of an employee-employer relationship,’’ she said. “That is getting in the way of them remembering that their job is to protect the patient, first and foremost.”
Eighteen states have rules governing the immunization of hospital employees. Some require solely that hospitals provide flu pictures to employees, or that unvaccinated employees put on masks round sufferers. But 12 require vaccination.
Ehresmann mentioned there was dialogue a couple of mandate in Minnesota a number of years in the past, however it didn’t lead to laws.