Vaccination waivers: 240 healthcare workers infected with infections by

More than 240 health care-associated infections (HAIs) have affected more than 3,400 public health workers since 1996 through vaccine exemptions.

HAIs are infections that affect hospitalized or ambulatory healthcare workers during treatment. They are considered preventable illnesses that could be prevented through coordinated patient care and preventive activities. Each year, four or more HAIs kill about 6,000 U.S. public health workers.

This study looked at the records of 4,947 AHF-infected healthcare workers at 22 public health departments for which vaccine data were available between 1996 and 2017, looking at the percentage of AHF-infected healthcare workers who were exempt from all vaccine requirements. The authors investigated the cause of the exemption.

Over 95 percent of the AHF-infected workers had an exemption from all vaccine requirements for immunization. Thirty-four percent of the caretakers had a “qualified exemption”, meaning the State Health Officer found that there was insufficient justification for the exemption. A total of 47 percent of all waivers came from hospital physicians and nurses.

The study authors recommend that their study expands vaccine exemption research, thus identifying new places where a vaccine policy would best serve their own population.

Other studies have also investigated the reasons why waivers are granted for patients and their families, how they get approved, and whether the waiver is valid for the family member that is receiving treatment.

Also included in this release from Sage Health Sciences are links to additional medical and scientific articles that could help inform healthcare worker vaccination policy.

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