Data gathered by the University of Michigan shows that fewer than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals have mandatory influenza vaccines for their staff.
Every year, millions of Americans become sick and thousands of Americans die from influenza. People most at risk for contracting the illness already have health concerns or weakened immune systems.
There are several recommendations that apply to every hospital in the U.S., encouraging health care workers to receive their influenza vaccines every year. Health professionals maintain that this is the best way to prevent the workers from passing influenza viruses to hospital patients.
This is why it is a significant concern that over 50 percent of hospitals do not have mandatory vaccines for their staff. Many people who come to hospitals are already vulnerable, and adding their susceptibility to the spread of the influenza can only make matters worse.
"Vaccination of health care workers has been shown to significantly reduce patients' risk of influenza and its complications, including pneumonia and death, compared with vaccination of patients alone," Sanjay Saint, senior author of the new study, said. "To put it bluntly, American hospitals have a lot of work to do."