The investigation, which was published today in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the official journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), discovered that vaccination rates increased from 36% to 60% in just four months between January and April 2021.
However, after that, the rate of growth decreased significantly, reaching 70% in September 2021. HCP in children’s hospitals and metropolitan counties had the greatest vaccination rates.
The Study Found 30% Of US Hospital Staff Unvaccinated Against COVID
Though various authorities and governments have made it mandatory for people to go for a shot, 30% of people are still left who have not got even their first dose, and hence they can be at a huge risk.
As of September 15, 2021, 30 percent of healthcare staff (HCP) at more than 2000 U.S. hospitals was still unvaccinated against COVID-19, according to findings from a study undertaken by researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study is the most comprehensive examination of vaccination rates among U.S. hospital personnel to date with data from 3.3 million HCP.
“Our analysis revealed that vaccine coverage among U.S. hospital-based HCP stalled significantly after initial uptake,” said Hannah Reses. “Additional efforts are needed now to improve HCP vaccine coverage and reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to patients and other hospital staff.”
Notably, vaccination coverage increased by 5% from April to August 2021; it climbed by 5% in just one month from August to September 2021. The authors speculate that the higher vaccine uptake is a result of rising COVID-19 rates linked to the Delta variation or immunization mandates in some jurisdictions.
The researchers were able to examine vaccination rates by hospital type and the features of the county in which the hospitals are located due to the large number and variety of facilities included in the study.
HCP in children’s hospitals had the highest immunization coverage, followed by those in short-term ACH, long-term ACH, and critical access hospitals. Compared to rural counties and non-metropolitan rural counties, HCP working in facilities located in metropolitan counties had the highest vaccination rates.
Between January 20, 2021, and September 15, 2021, Reses and her colleagues analyzed data voluntarily supplied to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Unified Hospital Data Surveillance System on COVID-19 immunization coverage among hospital-based HCP.
A total of 2086 of the system’s 5085 children’s hospitals’ short-term acute care hospitals (ACH) long-term ACH and critical access hospitals supplied data on HCP vaccination coverage and total employee numbers and passed specified analysis validation tests.
“Hospital-based HCP play a critical role in influencing community uptake of vaccines and are also at increased risk of both acquiring and transmitting COVID-19 in healthcare settings,” said Ann Marie Pettis BSN RN CIC FAPIC and APIC 2021 president. “The findings from this analysis suggest that vaccine mandates, as well as investment in additional educational and promotional activities, could help increase vaccine coverage among HCP to protect public health better.”
Given COVID-19’s low population-level immunity, immunization remains a critical preventive tool for reducing illness burden and preventing new outbreaks. Our findings imply that a vaccine could have a significant impact on lowering COVID-19-related incidence hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among susceptible patients with comorbidities and risk factors.
We also discovered that even with the relatively rapid roll-out simulated here, controlling COVID-19 at the population level could take several months. Furthermore, this impact is realized as part of ongoing public health initiatives, and it would not be achievable without careful attention to other areas of infection prevention and control. Such as masking hand cleanliness testing, contact tracing, and isolation of infected cases.