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Laws Promoting Flu Shot for Hospital Workers Can Cut Deaths

FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2021 -- State laws promoting hospital worker vaccination against influenza may be effective for reducing monthly pneumonia and influenza mortality rates, especially among the elderly, according to a study published online Jan. 5 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mariana Carrera, Ph.D., from Montana State University in Bozeman, and colleagues examined the effect of state-level hospital worker influenza vaccination laws on pneumonia and influenza mortality in a quasi-experimental observational study involving the population of all U.S. states from 1995 to 2017.

The researchers found that during years when the influenza vaccine was well matched to the circulating strains, there was a 2.5 percent reduction in the monthly pneumonia and influenza mortality rate with implementation of state laws requiring hospitals to offer influenza vaccination to their employees (−0.16 deaths per 100,000 persons). The effects were largest among elderly persons and during peak influenza months.

"Our research suggests that state laws promoting hospital worker vaccination against influenza can be effective in preventing deaths from pneumonia and influenza, particularly among elderly persons," the authors write. "Overall, our findings are consistent with the idea that vaccinating hospital workers reduces the spread of influenza and, by doing so, protects the lives of more vulnerable populations."

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Posted: January 2021

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