To: WVU Medicine Employees, Faculty, Residents, and Volunteers

From: Frank Briggs, Pharm.D., M.P.H., FASHP, FACHE, Vice President, Quality and Patient Safety

Re: Mandatory Flu Vaccination Program

 

As healthcare workers, we take pride in the fact that we put our patients’ interest and safety first.

Recently, we have been faced with a number of scares involving infectious diseases, including Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Never once did we put our own anxieties ahead of the care for our patients. Instead, we took the necessary precautions and worked carefully and quickly to rule out the diseases, while providing outstanding, compassionate care.

With this continued focus on our patients in mind, we are introducing a mandatory influenza vaccination program for all staff, providers, residents and volunteers across the WVU Medicine enterprise, except in the case of medical or religious exemption. This is a joint effort with Monongalia General Hospital.

Thoughtful consideration was given to safety and personal preference during the development of this policy. Given the long-standing safety and efficacy of the influenza vaccine, our main concern as healthcare workers should remain the protection of our patients.

The facts are very clear regarding influenza vaccination. It has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, yet more than 35,000 people still die annually in the United States as a result of flu. While the majority of our employees (65 to 70 percent) have historically received the vaccine on an annual basis, the welfare of our patients – especially those who cannot receive the vaccine themselves due to age or medical problems – is best served by even higher immunization rates.

Throughout this fall and winter, we will continue to see record numbers of patients seeking care at WVU Medicine. More patients will enter our facilities without adequate protection. We have the opportunity this year to save even more lives and keep our institution running smoothly.

Rest assured, this year’s vaccine has undergone the most rigorous development and testing by leading scientists and public health officials. We will again be offering the vaccination in a variety of forms,including nasal mist and egg- and latex-free products.

Please join me in reconfirming our commitment to our patients by supporting our vaccination program and receiving yours this fall.