The Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists encourages all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to receive annual vaccinations against influenza. Also, if the health professional has no previous history of vaccination or is without serologic evidence of immunity, they should receive other appropriately scheduled vaccinations against hepatitis B, mumps, measles, rubella, varicella, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
Rationale and Background
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and other healthcare personnel can acquire these diseases from patients, or transmit these diseases to patients and other staff. Despite the benefits of vaccination on patient outcomes and on reducing absenteeism due to illness among health care personnel, the immunization rate among healthcare personnel is significantly less than 100% for influenza vaccine.1 Among high risk individuals, including those who are pregnant, those who are age 65 years or older, or those with chronic medical conditions, the potential benefit of vaccination is particularly great.
The Centers for Disease Control has published recommendations from the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) concerning influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel. Their recommendations apply to healthcare personnel in all settings, ranging from acute care hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, physician’s offices, urgent care centers, to outpatient clinics. The definition of healthcare personnel includes “all persons, paid and unpaid, working in healthcare settings who have potential for exposure to patients and/or to infectious materials, including body substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, contaminated environmental surfaces, or contaminated air. Healthcare personnel include, but are not limited to, physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, technicians, emergency medical service personnel, dental personnel, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, autopsy personnel, students and trainees, contractual personnel, home healthcare personnel, and persons not directly involved in patient care (e.g., clerical, housekeeping, laundry, security, maintenance, billing, chaplains, and volunteers) but potentially exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from the healthcare personnel and patients.”3,4 Both HICPAC and ACIP recommend that all healthcare personnel be vaccinated annually against influenza and for a variety of diseases that may be acquired by the healthcare personnel in their work settings.5
1. Anon. Influenza vaccination coverage among health-care personnel-United States, 2010-11 influenza season. MMWR 2011;60(32):1073-1082.
2. Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2017.pdf (accessed 12/9/2011)
3. Prevention strategies for seasonal influenza in healthcare settings. www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/healthcaresettings.htm (accessed 12/9/2011)
4. Pearson ML, Bridges CB, Harper SA. Influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel. MMWR Feb 24, 2006;55(RR02):1-16.
5. Shefer A, Atkinson W, Friedman C, et al. Immunization of health-care personnel. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommendations and Reports. MMWR November 25, 2011;60(RR07):1-45.