Mandatory flu shots for healthcare workers doubles vaccination rates

Researchers recently found that mandating influenza vaccinations for healthcare workers more than doubled vaccination rates.

After implementing a mandate at the University of California - Irvine, Dr. Susan Huang found vaccination rates jumped from approximately 40 percent to more than 90 percent. Huang and her colleagues recently issued a report on their findings in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, according to

“Mandatory vaccination policies appear to successfully capture a large portion of healthcare providers who are not opposed to receipt of the vaccine but who have not made vaccination a priority,” the researchers said, reports.

Even though healthcare workers are at a higher risk of being exposed to patients with the flu and of transmitting the virus to other patients, it has been difficult to achieve high coverage rates. Unlike mandates for diseases like hepatitis B, more hospital employees are not required to get an annual shot.

Previous attempts to increase vaccination rates, including the use of mobile carts to provide vaccinations at employee meetings, succeeded only marginally.

“Only the addition of a mandatory vaccination policy enabled instantaneous gains in vaccination to levels above 90 percent,” the researchers said, according to

Huang and her colleagues concluded that mandatory flu vaccinations have the potential to increase the coverage rate for healthcare workers nationally and worldwide, but only if properly enforced.