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AAFP Supports Mandatory Flu Vaccinations for Health Care Personnel
New Policy Allows Exemptions Only for Medical, Religious Reasons
By News Staff
"Patients within their medical home should expect the highest level of protection from their clinicians," Jonathan Temte, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, told AAFP News Now. "As our patients are often medically vulnerable, prevention of transmission from a health care worker is essential to complete and conscientious medical practice."
Although the ACIP, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the AAFP have recommended (5-page PDF; About PDFs) for years that all health care workers receive annual influenza immunizations, less than half of health care workers are immunized against the flu each year (4-page PDF; About PDFs), says the CDC.
According to the 2010 AAFP member survey, more than 90 percent of respondents who provided vaccines to their patients were themselves immunized against the flu during the 2009-10 influenza season, and more than 90 percent of their staff received the vaccine, as well.
Numerous health care organizations have adopted policies similar to the one recently created by the AAFP. They are
- the American Academy of Pediatrics,
- the American College of Physicians,
- the American Medical Directors Association,
- the American Pharmacists Association,
- the American Public Health Association,
- the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology,
- the Infectious Diseases Society of America,
- the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases,
- the National Patient Safety Foundation, and
- the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
"There has been extensive and thoughtful evaluation and assessment of the ethics behind such a policy, and this is in keeping with good medical practice."