Health Care Workers and Flu

Flu can spread rapidly in health care settings. Vaccination is the first and most important step Health Care Workers can take to protect against the flu.

Who is a Health Care Worker?

Health Care Workers (HCW) are personnel who work in acute care hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, physician offices, urgent care centers, outpatient clinics, and home health care agencies. Those working in clinical settings within non-health care institutions, such as school nurses or those staffing clinics in correctional facilities are also considered HCW.

HCW include all people whose occupational activities involve contact with patients or contaminated material in health care settings, including home health care or clinical laboratory settings. This includes those who do not provide direct patient care, but have patient contact, such as personnel involved in dietary and housekeeping services. HCW include all contractors, clinicians, volunteers, students, trainees, clergy, and others who come in contact with patients.

Why should Health Care Workers get vaccinated against the flu?

HCW have a special role in the fight against influenza.

  1. By getting vaccinated themselves, HCW can protect their health, their families’ health, and the health of their patients.
  2. Encouraging vaccination of vulnerable patients can protect them from the flu.
  3. High rates of vaccination among HCW have been linked to improved patient outcomes and reduced absenteeism and flu infection among staff.

Even if you're healthy, you can get sick and spread the flu. Get vaccinated to help protect yourself from the flu and to keep from spreading it to your family, co-workers, and patients. You should get a seasonal flu vaccine every year because flu viruses change yearly and a flu vaccine from a previous season may not protect against current flu viruses.