Hospital staff looks to improve its staff flu-vaccination rates

High flu-vaccination rates the Martha's Vineyard Hospital will help keep staff, and the public, healthier. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

According to a press release, the medical and support staff at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital (MVH) is aiming to increase their flu-vaccination rates.

More than 407, or 89 percent, of the hospital’s staff have been vaccinated for this year’s flu.

“Working in a healthcare/hospital setting increases the risk of exposure to several vaccine-preventable diseases,” Martha Bischoff, MVH’s director of quality management, said. “By getting vaccinated ourselves, we’re not only helping to protect our staff, but also our patients, family members, and community.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, healthcare workers are at higher risk for the flu, since their jobs bring them into contact with flu-infected people. If they become infected, with or without symptoms, they can spread the disease to people who have lowered resistance due to age, illness, or treatment.

Massachusetts does not currently require healthcare workers to be vaccinated, but hospitals, ASCs, dialysis centers, and long-term-care facilities are required to offer free flu shots to workers, as well as document that each person was either immunized or signed a form declining the vaccine.

According to Ms. Bischoff, the average vaccination rate at Massachusetts hospitals is close to 91 percent. “I would really like to see us reach that goal this year,” she said. “But I also believe we can beat it.”