It’s October – have you had your flu shot yet?

Alexandra Penney, RN, MPH
Oregon Regional Quality Management and Medical Staff Services

Oct. 16, 2013

True or false? A: The flu vaccine can cause influenza. B: There is no link between flu vaccinations for hospital staffs and improved patient outcomes.

If you answered false to both you know why Providence recommends that all employees, contractors, medical staff and volunteers should get vaccinated for influenza – and why we offer the vaccine free to those groups, including nonemployed professional staff. Getting vaccinated is the best protection we can offer our patients, our families and ourselves.

For a healthy adult, flu is a major inconvenience; no one wants to spend a week or two of paid time off in bed. For a patient with a weakened immune system, an older person or a very small child, exposure to the flu poses a dangerous risk of complications or even death.

Our goal is to have a 90 percent immunization rate by 2020 for all persons entering the hospital. All providers will be contacted in the new year with a request for vaccination confirmation. Those who decline to get a vaccination must sign a consent/declination form.

Here’s what you need to know this year: 

  • The regional flu campaign already is underway.
  • Every employee must get vaccinated or decline the vaccine in writing. It’s a requirement in Oregon.
  • You can get the vaccine free at work, in a hallway or conference room near you. Roving vaccine carts and conference room vaccination clinics are in progress around the region. See Providence's intranet for the latest schedule.

The following types of flu vaccines are provided:

  • Latex- and preservative-free vaccines
  • Live attenuated intranasal vaccination, by appointment only at a local employee health department
  • FluBlok (RIV3) egg-free flu vaccine, by appointment only at a local employee health department, starting mid-October.

If you miss the cart, you can still get the vaccine. Simply call your local employee health department to make an appointment. Locations and phone numbers are on the employee health intranet site.