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State laws mandating flu vaccines for health care workers increase their vaccination rates, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

The researchers reviewed influenza immunization rates from 2000 to 2011; during that time states with flu vaccination laws targeting healthcare workers jumped from two to 19.

From 2000 to 2005, Maine and New Hampshire were the only two states that had flu vaccination laws for health care workers and during that period the average flu vaccination rate for health care workers was 22.5 percent. When 19 other states joined from 2006 to 2011, the average vaccination rate for health care workers increased to 50.9 percent.

The researchers assigned scores to each state based on the “rigor” of its law as not all states have the same vaccine laws. For example, some mandate that health care employers pay for the vaccines while others such as in Pennsylvania requires that only certain health workers such as those in long term care get vaccines.

 

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