InfluenzaVaccine in Health Care Providers
InfluenzaVaccine in Health Care Providers
Influenzaor the flu as it is commonly known can be a severe disease that cancause a person to be hospitalized or in some cases fatal. The diseaseaffects people indiscriminate of their age or health status. The fluvirus is spread from one person to another through droplets producedwhen an infected person coughs talks or sneezes. The droplets canland in the noses or mouths of individuals who are even as far as sixfeet away or can be inhaled into the respiratory system (Treanor,2014). Healthy person are able to infect others even after day one ofinfection before the symptoms can start manifesting. This means that,one can pass the virus to another person even without the knowledgethat they are infected. Others may be infected and not have thesymptoms even after a while. During this time, such a person mayspread the virus to other people unknowingly (Treanor, 2014). Assuch, health care providers are likely to be among the mostvulnerable group to be infected by the flu virus, considering theyare in a hospital environment. As such, there is need to administerthe influenza vaccine to all health care professionals.
Accordingto Flu.gov, Center for Disease Control (CDC), the HealthcareInfection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and theAdvisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend thatall health care workers in the United States be vaccinated every yearagainst influenza (Flu.gov, 2015). This includes nurses, physicians,therapists, nurse assistants, emergency medical service staff,pharmacists, dental personnel, laboratory personnel, students andtrainees, autopsy personnel, as well as contractual staff notnecessarily employed by the hospital and other non medical staff notdirectly involved in patient care but are potentially vulnerable toinfectious agents that can be transferred to and from patients andhealth care workers like housekeepers, clerks, security,administrators, laundry, and billing (Flu.gov, 2015).
Thereare various reasons why health care personnel should all bevaccinated against influenza. First, it helps in protecting thehealth care professionals from flu infection, as flu is a deadlydisease that can lead to death. Secondly, flu can get anyoneregardless and hence health care workers interact with patients intheir work environment, as well as their co-workers and other staffmembers they are more vulnerable to infection (Banach et al., 2013).Thirdly, health care personnel can transmit the virus to patients andother co-workers even if they do not feel sick. Ultimately, by beingvaccinated, the health care workers protect themselves frominfection, their family back at home and coworkers and patients atwork.
Influenzaoutbreaks in health care facilities have been linked to low influenzavaccination among health care professionals in those facilities.Research demonstrates that, health care workers who are vaccinatedsignificantly minimize the risk of transmission of influenza to otherpeople (Ottenberg et al., 2011). They also fell ill less often andreduce absenteeism hence provide services as required. There is alsoa reduced risk of hospital acquired (nosocomial) influenzaincidences.
Influenzavaccine occurs in two forms which can be administered to health careproviders or any other person. The flu shot is a vaccine containingdead flu virus which is given through injection normally in the arm.It is recommended for persons over six months whether healthy or withchronic medical history (Nair et al., 2012). The nasal spray is thesecond form of the flu vaccine and is made of live, destabilized fluviruses and is sprayed through the nose. It is at times referred toas LAIV or Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine. The virus contained inLAIV does not result to flu as it is in weakened form. It isrecommended for individuals between ages 2 to 49 years who are notpregnant (Shavell et al., 2012).
LAIVis administrable to almost all health care workers as long as theyare not pregnant. However, it can be given to those working withpregnant mothers in prenatal care, infants in neonatal intensive careunit, persons undergoing chemotherapy, individuals with solid organtransplant, and even those patients with HIV/AIDS. There is nospecial safety measures (say gloves or masks) required for healthcare providers who have been vaccinated with LAIV unless thoseworking with patients receiving bone marrow transplant (Nair et al.,2012).
LAIVis however exempted for health care workers providing medical carefor patients in need of special conditions in the health facility asthey are thoughtfully immunocompromised, for instance if working inbone marrow transplant stations. This is taken as an additionalprecautionary measure and is not founded on reports of flu vaccinevirus transmission in those environments. In such cases, the flushots are recommended (Feemster et al., 2011). If a health careworker must get LAIV vaccine, he or she must stay for seven daysbefore coming into contact with immunocompromised patients who arebeing attended in special environments.
Conclusively,the flu vaccine among health care providers should be administeredevery year to increase the immunity level of the practitionersagainst flu. The decision to take flu vaccine by a health care workercan help prevent not only the individual from getting flu, but alsoprotecting others including family, coworkers and even patients.Although it is a requirement for all health professionals to receivethe vaccine, cooperation is important to achieve minimal flu riskswithin hospital environment.
Banach,D. B., Zhang, C., Factor, S. H., & Calfee, D. P. (2013). Supportfor mandatory health care worker influenza vaccination among alliedhealth professionals, technical staff, and medical students. Americanjournal of infection control,41(4),354-356.
Feemster,K. A., Prasad, P., Smith, M. J., Feudtner, C., Caplan, A., Offit, P.,& Coffin, S. E. (2011). Employee designation and health careworker support of an influenza vaccine mandate at a large pediatrictertiary care hospital. Vaccine, 29(9), 1762-1769.
Flu.gov.(2015 Aug. 12). InfluenzaVaccination Information for Health Care Workers.Retrievedhttp://www.flu.gov/planning-preparedness/hospital/hcworkers_vaccine.html(Accessed August 13, 2015).
Nair,H., Holmes, A., Rudan, I., & Car, J. (2012). Influenzavaccination in healthcare professionals. BMJ,344,e2217.
Ottenberg,A. L., Wu, J. T., Poland, G. A., Jacobson, R. M., Koenig, B. A., &Tilburt, J. C. (2011). Vaccinating health care workers againstinfluenza: the ethical and legal rationale for a mandate. AmericanJournal of Public Health,101(2),212.
Shavell,V. I., Moniz, M. H., Gonik, B., & Beigi, R. H. (2012). Influenzaimmunization in pregnancy: overcoming patient and health careprovider barriers. Americanjournal of obstetrics and gynecology,207(3),S67-S74.
Treanor,J. J. (2014). Influenza viruses. In ViralInfections of Humans(pp. 455-478). Springer US.