CDC declines to endorse mandatory vaccinations

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently declined to include mandatory vaccination policies for healthcare workers as a strategy to improve vaccination rates.

The draft of the CDC report, entitled "Updated Guidance: Prevention Strategies for Seasonal Influenza in Healthcare Settings," was published in the Federal Register, reports.

The CDC report acknowledged that the vaccination of health care workers remains an important measure in preventing seasonal influenza transmission. The report also discussed some of the approaches to improve health care professional vaccine rates, which include providing employee incentives, offering free vaccinations and requiring personnel to sign declination forms.

Ultimately, though, the CDC acknowledged the controversy over medical facilities instituting mandatory vaccine programs for healthcare workers and deferred to state health officials, noting that such policies are not within the purview of the federal government.

This is not the first time that the CDC has declined to endorse mandatory flu vaccination policies for health care workers, reports. CDC director Thomas Frieden, in a September 2009 story in the New York Times, said, “This is just not the right flu season to take this on,” alluding to challenges faced at the time for mass vaccination against the H1N1 influenza.

A final version of the CDC report is expected to be published this fall prior to the upcoming flu season.