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The purpose of this Board Briefing Report is to inform your Board of the Fresno County’s Public Health Officer’s order (attached) to require healthcare workers (HCWs) in hospitals and long term care facilities to receive an annual influenza vaccine by November 15, 2015 or, if they decline the vaccination, to wear a mask while working in patient care areas within that facility for the duration of the influenza season, which concludes on March 31, 2016. This order will be ongoing and applies each influenza season unless the order is rescinded. This mandate is consistent with legal requirements of California Health and Safety Code §1288.7 and Cal-OSHA Code Regulations §5199. The letter will also recommend that ALL other health care facilities follow the same vaccination policy this upcoming influenza season.

Last influenza season 2014-15 there were 4 deaths associated with influenza, and another 16 intensive care unit hospitalizations among residents 0-64 years old, and a significantly greater number of deaths in individuals 65 and older.

Vaccination remains the best method for controlling disease outbreaks for viral diseases such as influenza. Influenza mortality is highest among people 65 years old and older, the very young, those that are immunocompromised, and people with pre-existing lung or chronic medical conditions. Each year, influenza is responsible for approximately 3,000 to 49,000 deaths in the US. National vaccination rates are as low as 51%. Nationally, there is a push for local and state health jurisdictions to establish mandates for health care workers to receive an influenza vaccine or wear a mask for the duration of each influenza season. Many patients in acute care facilities are at increased risk for severe illness if their health care provider comes to work sick and infects them with influenza. Additionally, studies indicate that…...

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