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U.S. mandates can get mixed reviews. In a new Policy Brief, UCLA’s Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Policy Research details progress and frustration in the adoption of H1N1 H1N1 vaccinations for nursing home residents. Research suggests that some nursing homes are slow to vaccinate their staff because of concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine. While H1N1 vaccine efficacy among nursing home residents is believed to be similar to the population at large, there have been concerns that residents with compromised immune systems may not respond as well. Studies conducted at Kaiser Permanente’s North Central facility found vaccine effectiveness rates of up to 77% against H1N1 in nursing home residents.
Researchers measured the level of resistance of 67 nursing home residents by conducting their own study to determine the level of resistance of 10 clinical nurses who are required to provide clinical care to nursing home residents. When researchers compared the commitment of these staffers to provide clinical care to those without the recommended 10 vaccination, the researchers found that the nurses who had received the required 10 flu vaccines did better than their more pre-vaccinated peers on other measures. For example, they reported better self-reported health status, and more positive emotional health. More generally, though, the survey showed that the nursing home residents who received the required flu vaccine were less likely to visit a physician.
They recommend nursing homes reconsider their licensing policy so they can accommodate their staff with different requirements for vaccination.
For more on this and Kaiser Permanente’s broader Health Policy Research effort, please visit http://hphpr.phs.ucla.edu/subscribe/