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Flu vaccination compliance at VUMC rises dramatically

Dec. 17, 2015, 9:54 AM

As of Dec. 1, employee compliance with the influenza vaccination policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has reached 99.9 percent, up from 80 percent on Dec.1, 2014.

“On behalf of our patients, I’m very pleased to see this dramatic increase in our compliance rate,” said Gerald Hickson, M.D., senior vice-president for Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention and assistant vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

Influenza vaccination became mandatory for all VUMC employees ahead of last year’s flu season, based on a review of policies at other leading medical centers and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The flu doesn’t only pose temporary misery, bed rest and lost productivity, it also poses grave risks for the patients we serve, especially for the very young, our senior adults and those with complex medical challenges. To reduce influenza exposure for our patients and for each other, it’s imperative that we all get vaccinated,” Hickson said.

At VUMC all employees must be vaccinated against influenza, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella and hepatitis B. According to Hickson’s office, as of Dec. 1, employee compliance rates for all four mandatory vaccinations stood at 99.9 percent. The rate is expected to reach 100 percent soon, once a new process is in place to ensure compliance of new hires before they start work.

Exemptions may be requested for medical reasons or severe allergy to a vaccine component, or for deeply held religious or spiritual beliefs.

The annual deadline for exemptions is Oct. 1. During flu season, exempted employees wear face masks in patient care areas.

For more information, or to receive vaccine, visit the Occupational Health Clinic, suite 640, Medical Arts Building.

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