The Allegheny County Health Department is joining with the Allegheny County Immunization Coalition in a campaign to encourage more health care workers at 18 local hospitals to get vaccinated against the flu.
The campaign, Flatline the Flu, aims to increase health care worker vaccination rates at nine UPMC hospitals – Children’s, Magee-Womens, McKeesport, Mercy, Montefiore/Presbyterian/WPIC, Passavant, Shadyside, St. Margaret’s and UPMC East; four West Penn Allegheny Health System hospitals – Allegheny General, Forbes Regional, Allegheny Valley, and West Penn; and five other hospitals in Allegheny County – Jefferson, Sewickley, Ohio Valley, St. Clair and the VA hospital in Oakland.
Health care workers include staff involved in patient care as well as other personnel not directly involved in patient care but who can play a role in the transmission of flu between hospital workers and patients.
“Boosting vaccination rates among health care workers can help reduce the transmission of influenza, curb staff illness and absenteeism, and ultimately decrease influenza-related illness and death. This is especially important to reduce influenza among the elderly and the chronically ill who are at increased risk for severe complications from the flu,” said Acting Health Director Dr. Ron Voorhees.
“Our goal is community immunity and that includes not just the general public but health care workers too. When they’re vaccinated, it protects them, their families and the community they serve. That’s why we’re supporting the efforts of 18 acute care facilities to increase vaccination rates among their health care workers,” said Nicole Butteri, PharmD, Chairperson of the Allegheny County Immunization Coalition.
Participating hospitals will offer incentives to get vaccinated, such as providing the vaccine free of charge and giving workers a chance to win gift cards donated by the Allegheny County Immunization Coalition.
Only 63.5% of health care workers nationwide were vaccinated against influenza last season, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Allegheny County Immunization Coalition, founded in 2006 with a mission of Promoting Immunizations Across the Lifespan, is a passionate group of individuals with diverse backgrounds that work together and with the Allegheny County Health Department to promote vaccine education.