The Tuolumne County Public Health Department released an order from Dr. Todd Stolp, Tuolumne County Health Officer, mandating that all licensed health care facilities in Tuolumne County require their healthcare workers (HCW’s) to receive an annual influenza vaccination, or wear a surgical mask while working with patients during influenza season.
Stolp was Thursday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.
Healthcare workers include all of the doctors, nurses, counselors, ancillary healthcare providers, technicians and other support staff working in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other licensed care facilities in Tuolumne County.
According to Stolp, an estimated 3,000 to 49,000 people die in the United States each year due to influenza. Those at greatest risk of complications of influenza – the elderly, the very young, pregnant mothers, and people with chronic illnesses – make up a majority of those living in healthcare settings where viral illnesses like influenza can be particularly devastating.
Even though the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine varies each year, research has shown that influenza rates are lower when hospital and clinic staff have higher rates of vaccination against influenza. In addition to hand washing and good hygiene, influenza vaccine remains one of the most effective ways to limit transmission of influenza in communities.
For HCWs who decline to receive a seasonal influenza vaccination, they will be required to wear a surgical mask while working in patient care areas during influenza season, between November 1 and March 31 each year. HCWs include those who work directly with patients in hospitals and other licensed settings including emergency medical services.
“In addition to protecting the person wearing a surgical mask from transmitting respiratory viruses to others, masking requirements have consistently raised influenza vaccination rates over the Health People 2020 objective of 90%,” said Stolp. “In order to limit the ability of the influenza virus to continue to move through a community, immunization rates need to exceed 90%.”
For questions, please call the Tuolumne County Health Department at 209-533-7401 or visit the website at www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/publichealth
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 AM.