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How Loyola Makes Flu Shot Compliance Soar

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 10, 2013

Parada says that like many healthcare systems, Loyola endured its share of objections and "pushback" from its staff. Healthcare workers gave four main reasons:

1. They don't need it because they think they won't get the flu. Perhaps they have never had a symptomatic influenza illness.

2. The vaccine is not 100% effective, so why should they allow an injection of something that might not protect them.

3. The vaccine can cause side-effects or will provoke a disease or condition, like Guillain–Barré syndrome with paralysis. Or they don't want to get a sore arm.

4. They think getting a vaccine they don't want is tantamount to giving up their rights and this violates freedom of choice. Parada says at Loyola, there were some workers who received the flu shot every year, but when the mandate was enforced in 2009, said "You know, I used to get it. But now, if they're going to make me, I don't think I will, just in protest."

But each of those reasons was successfully overcome through town hall meetings and educational initiatives scheduled during all shifts. The most effective argument was the reasoning that the virus can make healthcare workers sick and that they can transmit it to their vulnerable patients. The vaccine is at least 60% effective in preventing the flu. And an infinitesimally small number of those vaccinated have developed side-effects.  

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