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Raleigh, N.C. - N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos, M.D., has directed leaders of the Division's 14 state operated health care facilities to implement a mandatory flu vaccination policy for its 10,000 employees as well as volunteers in anticipation of this year's flu season. Employees were informed this week of the new policy, which requires them to be vaccinated by December 1.
"More than 52 hospitals and health systems in our state have already made the judicious decision to implement mandatory flu vaccination policies to protect against illness," said Secretary Wos. "Because many of the patients and residents in our state facilities are at high risk for complications from flu, this is a responsible decision that will create a safer environment for our patients and staff."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, during the 2010-2011 influenza season, overall coverage for influenza vaccination among health care workers was estimated at 63.5 percent. Coverage was 98.1 percent among health care workers who had an employer requirement for vaccination.
Flu vaccination clinics will be held on-site for the more than 16,000 DHHS employees through the fall. Flu vaccination is provided to employees at no charge through the state employee health plan. Employees of state operated facilities may opt to be vaccinated by a provider of their choice, but will be required to provide proof of vaccination at their workplace.
The DHHS Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities manages 14 facilities across the state that treat adults and children with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance use disorders. In prior years, flu vaccinations have been voluntary.