Requiring influenza vaccination for health care workers: seven truths we must accept

Vaccine. 2005 Mar 18;23(17-18):2251-5. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2005.01.043.


In this paper we outline the seven primary truths supporting the call for requiring influenza immunization of all health care workers. We view this as a serious patient safety issue, given the clear and compelling data regarding the frequency and severity of influenza infection. In addition, clear-cut safety, efficacy, economic, legal, and ethical platforms support the use of influenza vaccine. Unfortunately health care workers have demonstrated, over almost 25 years that they are unwilling to comply with voluntary influenza immunization programs utilizing a variety of education and incentive programs, at rates sufficient to protect the patients in their care. We suggest that an annual influenza immunization should be required for every health care worker with direct patient contact, unless a medical contraindication or religious objection exists, or an informed declination is signed by the health care worker. High rates of health care worker immunization will benefit patients, health care workers, their families and employers, and the communities within which they work and live.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient
  • Influenza Vaccines / pharmacology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / transmission
  • United States
  • Vaccination / ethics
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data


  • Influenza Vaccines