NYS Influenza Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers Effective

Flu Shot, Doctor and stethoscope
Flu Shot, Doctor and stethoscope
Among healthcare workers, influenza vaccination rates increased and ILI/ARI decreased.

NEW ORLEANS – In evaluating outcomes following implementation of the New York State Public Health law instituted in July 2013 where all healthcare workers were mandated to either receive the influenza vaccination or wear a surgical mask, vaccination rates were found to have increased and the occurrence of influenza-like illness (ILI) or acute respiratory infection (ARI) was found to have decreased, according to a study presented at IDWeek 2016.

Lisa Saiman, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center and hospital epidemiologist at the New York-Presbyterian (NYP) Hospital in New York City, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of approximately 23,000 healthcare workers at NYP Hospital for 3 influenza seasons: 2012-2013 (pre-mandate), 2013-2014, and 2014-2015 (post-mandate). Workforce Health & Safety protocols were used for managing and testing ILI/ARI during the entire study period.

Overall influenza vaccination rates were 86%, 92%, and 92% in 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015, respectively. Vaccination rates increased over the 3 seasons (P <.05). The incidence of influenza among vaccinated healthcare workers (47%, 351/747) was lower than that in unvaccinated healthcare workers (52%, 134/256), but this finding was not statistically significant (P = .14).

“Over the 3 seasons, the number of ILI/ARI episodes evaluated by Workforce Health & Safety decreased, the proportion of ILI/ARI episodes tested varied (P <.05), and the proportion of ILI/ARI in vaccinated healthcare workers increased (P <.05),” Dr Saiman and colleagues noted.

The most common non-influenza virus found in healthcare workers across the 3 influenza seasons was coronavirus, followed by rhinovirus/enterovirus.

“These findings suggest a beneficial impact of the NYS mandate and should be evaluated across more seasons and in other centers,” the researchers concluded.

Disclosures: Dr Stockwell reports receiving grants from Pfizer Medical Education Group.

Learn more about Dr Saiman’s presentation by watching the video below.