NEWS SCAN: Mandatory flu shots for health workers, childhood vaccinations increase, H5N1 outbreaks

Jan 6, 2010

Hospital survey finds workers support mandatory flu shots
In a survey conducted at a large children’s hospital, 70% of employees agreed that influenza vaccination should be mandatory for health care workers, and 94% of those who expressed that belief had taken the shot themselves. Even among those who opposed mandatory flu shots, 56% were immunized, says the report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Both those who supported mandatory flu vaccinations and those who opposed them agreed that contracting flu would be dangerous for their patients. In the only significant difference between the two groups, only 29% of those who opposed mandatory vaccinations believed they were at high risk of contracting flu, compared to 51% of those who supported mandates. The online survey had a 62% response rate.

Childhood vaccinations increase, racial disparities narrow
Three-fourths of US children received recommended childhood vaccinations in 2008, up from only half 8 years earlier, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine acceptance has grown to such an extent that some long-standing disparities have been sharply reduced: The vaccination gaps between black and white children, urban and rural children, and children whose family income is above versus below the poverty level were not statistically significant during most of the years covered by the study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). However, only one subset of children—those with no siblings—actually achieved the federal Healthy People 2010 target of 80% coverage with the recommended vaccines collectively known as the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series (DTP, poliovirus, MMR, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae and varicella).
AJPM report

H5N1 outbreaks reported in Vietnam, Egypt
H5N1 avian influenza has caused an outbreak on one farm in the southern Vietnamese province of Ca Mau, the news service Voice of Vietnam reported. All 95 chickens on the farm have been culled; most tested positive for H5N1. Meanwhile, in Egypt, ducks and chickens infected with H5N1 have been found so far this year in six households or small farms in four provinces, according to the website of Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR), a joint project of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the US Agency for International Development, and the Egyptian government.

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