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Should influenza immunisation be mandatory for healthcare workers? Yes

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 28 October 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2142
  1. Charles M Helms, professor ,
  2. Philip M Polgreen, assistant professor
  1. 1University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases Division, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242, United States
  1. Correspondence to: C Helms Charles-helms{at}

    Charles Helms and Philip Polgreen believe that mandatory immunisation is necessary to achieve good uptake, but David Isaacs and Julie Leask (doi:10.1136/bmj.a2140) argue that it infringes autonomy and could backfire

    Influenza is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Health care associated influenza occurs in acute and long term healthcare facilities, affecting both patients and staff and disrupting delivery of care.1 2 There is evidence that vaccinating long term care healthcare workers reduces mortality among long term care patients and that vaccinating hospital workers decreases the rate of nosocomial influenza in hospitalised patients.3 4 5 6 Moreover, an economic evaluation of immunisation of healthcare workers in the UK found that it is cost saving.7 In addition, further studies show that healthcare worker vaccination reduces absenteeism.8 9 10

    Based on available evidence, public health authorities have strongly recommended vaccination of healthcare workers to protect patients and healthcare workers in healthcare settings.11 Despite these recommendations, overall rates of …

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