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Surveillance Snapshot: Influenza Immunization Among U.S. Armed Forces Health Care Workers, August 2016–April 2021

Image of Staff Sgt. James H. Wagner, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, vaccinates Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, commanding general, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, with the seasonal flu vaccines. Staff Sgt. James H. Wagner, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, vaccinates Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, commanding general, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, with the seasonal flu vaccines. All WBAMC beneficiaries are encouraged to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu vaccine and the novel flu virus. Look for flu updates on the WBAMC Facebook page, the All Bliss and the Fort Bliss Monitor. (Photo by SGT Valerie Lopez)

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The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all health care personnel be vaccinated against influenza to protect themselves and their patients.1 The Joint Commission's standard on infection control emphasizes that individuals who are infected with influenza virus are contagious to others before any signs or symptoms appear. The Joint Commission requires that health care organizations have influenza vaccination programs for practitioners and staff and that they work toward the goal of 90% receipt of influenza vaccine. Within the Department of Defense, seasonal influenza immunization is mandatory for all uniformed personnel and for health care personnel who provide direct patient care and is recommended for all others (excluding those who are medically exempt).2–5

This snapshot covers a 5-year surveillance period (August 2016–April 2021) and presents the documented percentage compliance with the influenza immunization requirement among active component health care personnel of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. In the 2020–2021 influenza season, the compliance rates for the Navy and Air Force were 95.9% and 95.8%, respectively. Data issues impeded the calculation of compliance rates for the Army during the 2020–2021 season, but the overall influenza compliance rate for all active component soldiers for this period was 94.4%.

References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Immunization of health-care personnel: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2011;60(RR-7):1–45.

2. Headquarters, Departments of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. Army Regulation 40-562, BUMEDINST 6230.15B, AFI 48-110_IP, CG COMDTINST M6230.4G. Medical Services: Immunizations and Chemoprophylaxis for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases. 7 October 2013.

3. Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs). Policy for Mandatory Seasonal Influenza Immunization for Civilian Health Care Personnel Who Provide Direct Patient Care in Department of Defense Military Treatment Facilities. Health Affairs Policy 08-005. 4 April 2008. 

4. Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs). Addition of Pandemic Influenza Vaccine or Novel Influenza Vaccine to the Policy for Mandatory Seasonal Influenza Immunization for Civilian Health Care Personnel Who Provide Direct Patient Care in Department of Defense Military Treatment Facilities. Health Affairs Policy 11-010. 28 July 2011.

5. Defense Health Agency. Procedural Instruction 6025.34. Guidance for the DoD Influenza Vaccination Program (IVP). 21 August 2020.

FIGURE. Percentage of health care specialists and officers with records of influenza vaccination, by influenza year (1 August through 30 April) and service, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, August 2016–April 2021

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Last Updated: January 11, 2022

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