Health Care Worker Flu Vaccine Study

Fewer than half of health care workers in this country receive an annual flu vaccine, and researchers here at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research are teaming up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a health care organization in Texas to find out why. The Respiratory Illness and Health Care Worker’s Study, led by Allison Naleway, PhD, will also try to determine how well the vaccine protects workers who do get it, from developing the virus.

Over 700 health care workers from Kaiser Permanente Northwest have enrolled in the study, along with more than 1,200 workers from Scott & White Healthcare in Texas. None of these employees are required to get the vaccine, but both health plans strongly encourage it and provide free vaccinations.

During the 2010/2011 flu season, 65 percent of Kaiser Permanente employees in the Northwest received the vaccine, which is above the national average for health care workers. While there is no federal mandate requiring workers to receive the vaccine, some hospitals do require it as a condition of employment. As you will learn in this video, the shot is safe for the vast majority of health care workers, but there are some who have good reasons for avoiding it.

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