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Low flu vaccine uptake in healthcare workers

Influenza vaccination of healthcare staff is an important infection control and occupational health intervention to protect themselves, their patients, work colleagues, and vulnerable family members from influenza, said the HPSC.

However, in Ireland during the 2014-2015 seasonal influenza season the national average influenza vaccine uptake for healthcare workers was low; with an average uptake of 23.4 per cent in 45 reporting hospitals, and 25.7 per cent in 91 reporting long-term care facilities, according to HPSC survey data.

These uptake figures are substantially below the 40 per cent national uptake target set by the HSE for the 2014-2015 season. For the 2015-2016 influenza season all healthcare workers should obtain influenza vaccination (unless contraindicated), the HPSC said.

The HSE said it is committed to increasing uptake rates of flu vaccine among its staff and plans to use the HPSC data to provide information and advice to healthcare workers and to the staff who administer flu vaccine.

Meanwhile, a new document Rabies Prevention and Control Guidance is now available on the HPSC website.

This document was produced by a subgroup of the National Zoonoses Committee, a national group of medical, veterinary, environmental health professionals, and scientists, concerned with human and veterinary public health. The document covers the public health management of a potential exposure to rabies and will be relevant to consultants in public health medicine among other healthcare professionals.

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