This is a companion article to the CLP feature, “HAIs Are at Crisis Stage.”
In a time when the incidence of healthcare-associated infections has risen to a level that is regularly described as a crisis stage, it’s little wonder that healthcare policymakers are also taking a long, hard look at infection control practices within the health professions themselves.
As a result, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society have recently called for mandatory, universal immunization of healthcare personnel as recommended by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Current ACIP recommendations for healthcare personnel include vaccination against influenza, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, and varicella (chicken pox).
The societies acknowledge that some voluntary healthcare personnel vaccination programs have been effective when combined with strong institutional leadership and robust educational campaigns. But for the vast majority of facilities, mandatory immunization programs are necessary in order to achieve target immunization rates, say the societies.
The policy calls for documentation of immunity or receipt of recommended vaccinations as a condition of employment, unpaid service, or receipt of professional privileges.
The societies also support requiring healthcare employers to engage in comprehensive educational efforts to inform healthcare personnel about the benefits of immunization and the risks of not maintaining immunization.