Massachusetts has made progress over the last five years in efforts to have staff members in licensed health care facilities vaccinated for flu each year, but there’s still a good deal of room for improvement especially in non-hospital settings.
Many long-term care and other facilities that serve older adults continue to fall short of expectations that 9-out-of-10 staff members will be vaccinated against the flu every year.
Average rates for the 2018-2019 season were 72% of staff in nursing homes, 64% in rest homes and 61% in adult day health programs, according to data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. (Rates at assisted living facilities are not tracked by DPH.)
Licensed clinics, which include many imaging, urgent care, counseling, dental, and other clinics, also struggle to reach the 90% goal as did ambulatory surgery centers, dialysis centers and non-acute care hospitals.
In contrast, acute care hospitals have achieved average rates over 90% each year since 2014-2015, with 94% of health care personnel vaccinated for each of the past two seasons.
In Massachusetts, licensed health care facilities are required to offer annual flu vaccination to all personnel free of charge and report staff vaccination data every spring at the end of flu season. The state set an annual goal of 90% of health workers vaccinated against influenza by the year 2020, in accordance with the National Healthy People 2020 campaign.