Hospital worker flu shots could mean fewer deaths
State vaccination mandates can reduce the spread of flu in vulnerable patients
(Press-News.org) Pneumonia and the flu kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, racking up billions of dollars in medical costs and even more in lost productivity.
But new research from the University of Georgia shows that state laws promoting flu vaccinations for hospital workers can substantially reduce the number of influenza-related deaths.
Spanning 23 years, the study looked at the mortality rate from influenza and pneumonia during peak flu season (from December through March of each year), comparing changes in mortality over time in the 13 states and Washington, D.C., that adopted laws to the changes in mortality in states without laws. All states that passed laws require the flu vaccines to be offered to hospital employees. Eleven took it a step further by mandating that workers be vaccinated or required documentation of refusal, with three requiring unvaccinated employees to wear surgical masks during flu season.
The findings align with previous research suggesting that hospital workers may serve as vectors of disease transmission within their hospitals and even in their communities. States that mandated hospital workers receive flu shots saw the biggest reduction in mortality from flu and pneumonia. On average, the adoption of a law promoting vaccination reduced mortality by about two deaths per 100,000 persons, with the reductions primarily occurring among older adult populations.
"The elderly are extremely vulnerable to influenza and are also generally less responsive to the vaccine," said Emily Lawler, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor in UGA's School of Public and International Affairs. "This study suggests that vaccinating hospital workers against influenza reduces influenza disease transmission and helps protect this vulnerable population."
A federal mandate requiring hospital workers to get an annual flu shot would likely further reduce influenza-related deaths.
This study did not closely examine why some health care workers refuse vaccines. However, if the COVID-19 vaccines are proven to prevent disease transmission--so far they've only been proven to protect the vaccinated individual from disease--then vaccinating hospital workers could be integral to dramatically reducing transmission of COVID-19 and mortality in communities across the country.
"Stricter policies result in higher vaccination rates among health care workers," Lawler said. "Our results are consistent with the idea that these stronger laws result in a larger reduction in influenza-related mortality."
Mandatory vaccinations don't come without some controversy, though. In some cases, health care workers refuse to get vaccinated. It's an issue with the flu shot, which varies in efficacy each year due the limitation of vaccine developers only being able to include several strains of the virus in a given shot. But it's also occurring with the new COVID-19 vaccines at a surprisingly high rate among health care professionals, nursing home workers and other frontline personnel.
This study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Co-authors were Mariana Carrera, from Montana State University, and Corey White, from California Polytechnic State University.
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
The health of aquatic ecosystems depends on the supply of key nutrients, especially phosphorus. Too much phosphorus results in unwanted eutrophication, and much effort is spent on preventing phosphorus pollution of water bodies. In the World's largest freshwater ecosystem, the North American Great Lakes, this control may have recently been lost to an invasive species. According to a new study, quagga mussels, which have spread across four of the five Great Lakes, have accumulated large amounts of phosphorus in their biomass, to the degree that their activities now regulate the supply of phosphorus ...
Their field may not be top of mind among those that contribute to the greater good, yet new research from the University of Notre Dame shows marketers can help entrepreneurs in emerging markets grow their businesses, which in turn helps them to improve lives, sustain livelihoods, enhance overall living standards and strengthen societies.
"Do Marketers Matter for Entrepreneurs? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda" is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing from Frank Germann, an associate professor of marketing at Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business who teaches ...
Cell phone data that is routinely collected by telecommunications providers can reveal changes of behavior in people who are diagnosed with a flu-like illness, while also protecting their anonymity, a new study finds. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published the research, led by computer scientists at Emory University and based on data drawn from a 2009 outbreak of H1N1 flu in Iceland.
"To our knowledge, our project is the first major, rigorous study to individually link passively-collected cell phone metadata with actual public health data," says Ymir Vigfusson, assistant professor in Emory University's Department of Computer Science and a first author of the study. "We've shown ...
WASHINGTON -- A multi-institutional group of researchers has developed new metamaterial tiles that will help improve the sensitivity of telescopes being built at the preeminent Simons Observatory in Chile. The tiles have been incorporated into receivers that will be deployed at the observatory by 2022.
The Simons Observatory is the center of an ambitious effort to measure the cosmic microwave background -- electromagnetic radiation left over from an early stage of the universe -- using some of the world's largest and most sophisticated ground-based telescopes. ...
Providing economic relief to struggling families can lead to another positive effect -- fewer cases of child neglect, according to new research by the University of Washington.
A 10% increase in a common benefit for low- to moderate-income working families, the Earned Income Tax Credit, led to a 9% decrease in the annual number of reports of child neglect made to child welfare agencies over a 14-year study period. That's a significant impact, researchers say, and can inform future social policies.
The study is relevant to current policy actions, as President Joe Biden has recently proposed an expansion ...
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- Kombucha tea, a trendy fermented beverage, inspired researchers to develop a new way to generate tough, functional materials using a mixture of bacteria and yeast similar to the kombucha mother used to ferment tea.
With Army funding, using this mixture, also called a SCOBY, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, engineers at MIT and Imperial College London produced cellulose embedded with enzymes that can perform a variety of functions, such as sensing environmental pollutants and self-healing materials.
The team also showed that they could incorporate yeast directly into the cellulose, creating living materials that could be used to purify water for Soldiers in the field or make smart packaging materials that can detect damage.
COLUMBIA, Mo. - In 2016, the World Health Organization called the Zika virus epidemic a "public health emergency of international concern" due to the virus causing birth defects for pregnant women in addition to neurological problems. Since then, researchers have wrestled with different strategies for controlling the spread of Zika virus, which gets transmitted to humans from female mosquito bites.
One approach, which was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in May, will release more than 750 million genetically modified mosquitos into the Florida Keys in 2021 and 2022. These "suicide mosquitos" are genetically-altered to produce offspring that die before emerging into adults and therefore cannot ...
An international research collaboration, involving scientists from the UK, US and Spain, has shed new light on the usefulness of digital contact tracing (DCT) to control the spread of Covid-19.
The study, published today in Nature Communications, assessed the effectiveness of the Spanish DCT app, Radar COVID, following a 4-week experiment conducted in the Canary Islands, Spain between June-July 2020.
For the experiment, funded by the Secretary of State of Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence (SEDIA), the researchers simulated a series of Covid infections in the capital of La Gomera, San Sebastián de la Gomera, to understand whether the Radar COVID app technology could ...
Individual variations in how the immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 appear to impact the severity of disease. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now been able to show that patients with severe COVID-19 have significantly elevated levels of a certain type of immune cells in their blood, called myeloid-derived suppressor cells. The study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation may bring an increased understanding of how early immune responses impact disease severity.
Most individuals with COVID-19 develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without needing hospital treatment. In severe cases, however, COVID-19 can lead to respiratory failure or even death. It is not yet known ...
Materials scientists of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), in collaboration with an international research team, have advanced the design of composite ceramic materials (Ce3+:YAG-Al2O3), i.e. solid-state light converters (phosphors) that can be applied in-ground and aerospace technologies. The LED systems based on the developed materials to save 20-30 percent more energy compared to commercial analogues. A related article was published in Materials Characterization.
Over 15% of the total global electricity production or about $ 450 billion annually spent on lighting. According to the photonics development roadmap run in Russia, the development of LED technology with an efficiency of more than 150 ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:
[Press-News.org] Hospital worker flu shots could mean fewer deaths
State vaccination mandates can reduce the spread of flu in vulnerable patients