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Get Your Flu Vaccine!

Nurse talking with senior woman

Flu vaccination is important for long-term care facility residents and personnel.

Influenza (flu) can be a serious health threat, especially to vulnerable individuals like older adults and people living with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney and liver disorders. It is especially important for people living with or caring for high-risk persons – including those working in long-term care (LTC) facilities – to get vaccinated against flu each year.

Vaccinate Residents and Health Care Personnel in Long-Term Care Facilities

Health care personnel in LTC facilities may have direct or indirect contact with older adults, persons with disabilities, and persons with chronic medical conditions receiving care.

Studies have found an association between high flu vaccination coverage rates among health care personnel and increased protection against flu among people in LTC facilities and hospitals. Preventing flu among health care providers can help reduce the spread of flu in vulnerable LTC resident populations.

Health care providers who are not vaccinated against influenza are more likely to become infected with influenza through contact with infected residents, other infected health care providers, or with family or community members. If infected, they may spread influenza to other people around them, including LTC residents and other health care providers. This may happen even before they know they are sick since people infected with influenza may be able to spread it to others one day before they feel sick through five to seven days after becoming sick. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

While flu vaccination can vary in how well it works, flu vaccination prevents millions of flu illnesses and thousands or tens of thousands of flu hospitalizations each year. Health care providers should get their flu vaccinations by the end of October, if possible. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection, make sure staff are vaccinated early in the flu season so that they are protected before flu becomes prevalent in the community and in LTC facilities.

Know How to Improve Flu Vaccination Coverage among HCP

Continued efforts are needed to ensure health care personnel are vaccinated early in the flu season. During the 2016-17 season, vaccination coverage among certain health care providers continued to be low, especially coverage in LTC (68.0%), and among assistants and aids (66.9%), and administrative and non-clinical support staff (60.7%).

There are a number of studies that show proven interventions promoting flu vaccination among health care personnel each season. Some strategies that employers should use to reduce barriers to vaccination include offering flu vaccination:

  • On-site over multiple days and shifts,
  • Free of charge, and with
  • Frequent and strong promotion.

The LTC toolkit helps LTC administrators get their workforce vaccinated against flu.

Flu toolkit

The LTC toolkit helps long-term care administrators get their workforce vaccinated against flu.

Use the Toolkit for Long-Term Care Employers

To help LTC employers increase flu vaccination among health care personnel in LTC settings, the National Vaccine Program Office and CDC launched a Toolkit for Long-Term Care Employers. This comprehensive toolkit includes a number of resources intended to help LTC facility, agency, or corporation owners and administrators provide access to flu vaccination for their workforce and to help LTC employers understand the importance of flu vaccination for their employees.
The toolkit includes information about:

Manufacturers have started shipping flu vaccines for this season. Make sure your health care personnel and LTC facility residents are protected by encouraging flu vaccination!