The University of Mississippi Medical Center will require all of its 10,000-plus employees to get a flu shot this year. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, it’s part of a national trend of mandatory flu vaccinations for health care workers.
UMMC has long offered free flu shots for employees, but Dr. Skip Nolan, director of the division of infectious diseases, says even then only about 45 percent of employees got them. Last year, the hospital made a big push to get everyone a flu shot. Still only 60 percent got on board.
This year, that flu shot is mandatory.
Nolan says more and more hospitals are moving towards mandatory vaccinations, which has been endorsed by a wide-range of medical groups, including the American Hospital Association.
The Centers for Disease Control says 98 percent of workers at hospitals that require vaccinations get the flu shot, versus 72 percent in places where it’s promoted but not required. It reports 73 percent of workers at acute-care hospitals in Mississippi got the flu shot last season.
Dr. Seema Jain, a medical epidemiologist with the influenza division of the CDC, says the agency actually recommends that just about everyone gets a flu shot every year.
The CDC says between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year.