Bloomberg Businessweek, September 9, 2010

A group representing America's pediatricians is urging that flu shots be mandatory for all U.S. health-care workers in order to protect patients.

While many organizations have used voluntary programs in an effort to improve coverage, flu vaccination rates among health-care workers remain unacceptably low, said the members of the Committee on Infectious Diseases at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Mandatory influenza immunization for all health-care personnel is ethically justified, necessary, and long overdue to ensure patient safety," they wrote in the AAP policy statement, which will appear in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Immunization rates of 80 percent or higher are needed to achieve the "herd immunity" required to have a major impact of flu transmission by health-care workers, but current rates of flu vaccination for this group remain near 40 percent, the authors said.

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