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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center is implementing a flu vaccination policy at the hospital to help protect the health of its patients, visitors, staff and community.
The policy — affecting more than 7,000 people — includes physicians, allied health staff, volunteers, students, contract workers and other health care providers,
The hospital tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1us80Ll ) employees who do not wish to receive the flu vaccine must wear a surgical mask within the hospital to protect patients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all health care workers get vaccinated every year against the flu. However, voluntary programs have not been effective at markedly increasing vaccination rates, which have remained at 63 percent nationwide. At the Lake last year, voluntary vaccination for team members achieved roughly 40 percent participation.
"Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step to protect against the flu and avoid spreading it to others," said Dr. Catherine O'Neal, medical director of infection control at the Lake. "For every 15 vaccinated healthcare workers, one person in the community is prevented from contracting the flu."
In the United States, 30 million cases of flu occur each year resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and associated increases in mortality. It is a highly contagious illness that can spread easily from person to person.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com
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