Maximizing influenza vaccination uptake among healthcare personnel in Israel: lessons learned from mandatory vaccination policy in the United States.Isr J Health Policy Res. 2019 09 16; 8(1):60.IJ
Maximizing vaccination uptake is crucial in generating herd immunity and preventing infection incidence (Quach et al., Am J Infect Control 11:1017-23, 2013). Vaccination of healthcare personnel (HCP) against influenza is vital to influenza infection control in healthcare settings, given the consistent exposure of HCP to high-risk patients like: those with compromised immune systems, children, and the elderly (Johnson & Talbot, Curr Opin Infect Dis 24: 363-369, 2011). Influenza vaccination uptake among HCP remains suboptimal: in 2017-18, 47.6% of HCP who worked in settings where influenza vaccination was not mandatory were vaccinated against influenza in United States (Black et al., Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 67: 1050, 2018). Mandatory vaccination policies result in HCP influenza vaccination uptake rates substantially higher than opt-in influenza vaccination campaigns (94.8% vs. 47.6%) (Black et al., Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 67: 1050, 2018).
The Israel Journal of Health Policy Research has published articles focused on the issues of influenza vaccination (Yamin et al., Isr J Health Policy Res 3: 13, 2014), improving influenza vaccination coverage of HCP (Weber et al., Isr J Health Policy Res 5: 1-5, 2016), influenza vaccination motivators among HCP (Nutman and Yoeli, Isr J Health Policy Res 5: 52, 2016), legal imposition of vaccination (Kamin-Friedman, Isr J Health Policy Res 6:58, 2017), and mandatory vaccination (Gostin, Cell Biosci 8: 1-4, 2018). Each article explores factors influencing disease prevention from different angles within an Israeli context. This article attempts to fuse these topics by investigating how to apply aspects of American mandatory influenza vaccination policy targeted at HCP in an Israeli context.
Critical document analysis was conducted on relevant literature and policy discussing influenza prevention interventions among HCP within the United States. Mandatory vaccination policies were highlighted. A discussion of the professional responsibility of HCP to vaccinate against influenza serves as background. Case studies of hospitals in the United States that implemented mandatory vaccination policies for their employees are analyzed. The article concludes with analysis exploring how qualities of mandatory influenza vaccination policy of HCP could take shape in Israel, giving contextual limitations, urging Israeli health policy makers to reflect on lessons learned from the American case study.
MAIN FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION
Mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies in comparison to non-mandatory interventions are most effective in obtaining maximum influenza vaccination uptake among HCP (Black et al., Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 67: 1050, 2018). Many HCP cite individual objections to influenza vaccination rooted in personal doubts and ethical concerns. The ethical responsibility of HCP to their patients and work environments to prevent and lower influenza infection incidence arguably overrules such individual objections. Mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies are an effective method of maximizing HCP influenza vaccine uptake and minimizing the spread of the influenza virus within healthcare settings. Still, cultural, social and political sensitivity must be taken into consideration when implementing both full-on mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies and/or aspects of mandatory policies, especially within an Israeli context.