Redwood Area Hospital was recognized with a blue ribbon by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among facility employees during the 2015-16 flu season.
182 Redwood Area Hospital employees, representing 93 percent of staff, received influenza vaccinations during the past season of the Minnesota FluSafe program.
“Our patients’ health is our top priority,” said Bryan Lydick, Redwood Area Hospital CEO. “Participating in the FluSafe program helps us increase employee influenza vaccination rates and prevent flu from spreading to our patients. We also want all of our employees to be as healthy as possible during flu season.”
The FluSafe program aims to get 100 percent of all health care personnel at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. According to state health officials, unvaccinated health care workers can potentially pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza.
Of the 153 facilities that participated in FluSafe this year, 63 reached vaccination rates of 90 percent or greater, 47 reached rates of between 80 and 89 percent, and 29 reached rates of between 70 and 79 percent.
“Athletes were going for medals at the Olympics, but hospitals and nursing homes in our FluSafe program were striving for ribbons – and the vast majority got one,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control at MDH. “All FluSafe participants made a commitment to promote flu vaccination for their employees, and they did a great job. We congratulate and thank them for their hard work.”
Health care facilities participating in the FluSafe program receive guidance and access to tools and promotional materials from MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help them increase their influenza vaccination rates. The facilities record and document their vaccination rates through the state’s immunization information system, the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC).
More information on the FluSafe program, including a list of the 2015-16 facilities earning blue, red, and white ribbons, can be found on mdhflu.com.
Photo: (front) Brenda Anderson, Diane Lang, (back) Bryan Lydick, Nicole Paulson, Julie Fiala