Vaccinating health care workers against influenza: the ethical and legal rationale for a mandate

Am J Public Health. 2011 Feb;101(2):212-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.190751.


Despite improvements in clinician education, symptom awareness, and respiratory precautions, influenza vaccination rates for health care workers have remained unacceptably low for more than three decades, adversely affecting patient safety. When public health is jeopardized, and a safe, low-cost, and effective method to achieve patient safety exists, health care organizations and public health authorities have a responsibility to take action and change the status quo. Mandatory influenza vaccination for health care workers is supported not only by scientific data but also by ethical principles and legal precedent. The recent influenza pandemic provides an opportunity for policymakers to reconsider the benefits of mandating influenza vaccination for health care workers, including building public trust, enhancing patient safety, and strengthening the health care workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / ethics*
  • Immunization Programs / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Public Health / ethics
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States


  • Influenza Vaccines