OSHA: Flu Vaccination "Strongly Encouraged" for Healthcare Workers
OSHA has published a fact sheet (PDF) providing information on seasonal influenza and the importance of vaccination, particularly among healthcare workers, in preventing the spread of illness. Healthcare workers are a high-priority group for flu vaccination, the fact sheet states, because they are more likely to be exposed to the virus through contact with sick patients and may subsequently transmit it to others.
“Vaccination is especially important for anyone who works directly with patients or in high-risk settings such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, home care, or congregate settings such as rehabilitation and assisted living facilities,” the fact sheet explains.
OSHA cites the practice of making the vaccine available to workers during their normal work shifts as a strategy that healthcare employers may use to encourage vaccination.
Flu transmission can be prevented by good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, staying home when sick, and vaccination, OSHA says. Although some vaccinated people may still become ill, the fact sheet stresses that vaccination can reduce the severity and duration of illness, as well as the spread of disease to others. CDC recommends that most people older than six months receive the vaccination by the end of October each year to maximize protection for the duration of the winter flu season.
For more information, OSHA’s fact sheet may be downloaded as a PDF.