SAN DIEGO — Health care facilities that have instituted mandatory influenza vaccination policies had significantly lower percentages of people taking sick days than those without mandatory influenza vaccination policies, including Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sites, according to a study presented at IDWeek 2015. 

As part of the ResPECT study, which looked at different ways to protect health care workers during influenza season, John Frederick, of the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, and colleagues performed a sub-study to evaluate how mandatory versus nonmandatory influenza vaccination affects absenteeism among health care workers.

Specifically, the researchers used a sick day ratio (SDR) that counted the number of self-reported days absent from work that were specifically due to cold- or flu-like symptoms and divided that number by the number of participants at that site. They found that sites that had mandatory influenza vaccination programs and high influenza vaccine rates had lower SDRs.

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“The difference in SDRs for VA and mandatory vaccination policy sites may also stem from other variables such as geographical region, patient/HCP (health care personnel) population, and burden of disease. These findings warrant further investigation of the role of vaccine mandates and clinical outcomes in healthcare settings,” the authors write.


1. Frederick J, Dansky M, Brown AC, et al. Abstract 1870. The Impact of Mandatory vs. Non-Mandatory Vaccination Programs on Employee Sick Days During Three Consecutive Acute Respiratory Illness Seasons: Observations from the ResPECT Study. Presented at: IDWeek 2015. Oct. 7-11, 2015. San Diego.