"This study suggests that there is a strong connection between how many healthcare personnel are vaccinated against the flu and how many cases of influenza-like illnesses are reported in the community," said James F. Marx, PhD, RN, CIC, investigator and founder of Broad Street Solutions, an infection prevention consultancy.
"More research would be helpful to further understand the impact of vaccinating healthcare workers on community influenza rates."
For the 2011-2012 influenza season, the influenza vaccination rate of California hospital healthcare personnel was 68 percent.
According to Marx
, if 90 percent of California healthcare personnel were vaccinated - the goal set by the federal government's Healthy People 2020 initiative - there would be about 30,000 fewer cases of influenza-like illness in California.
Influenza-like illness causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year and, on average, 24,000 people die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Currently, vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu.
said: "It is critical that healthcare providers receive the flu vaccine since they come into contact with our most vulnerable community members."