Background: The seasonal influenza illness occurs every year in the United States during the cooler months from October to April, sometimes lasting longer. Although certain populations are more susceptible to this condition, data have shown that otherwise healthy individuals have experienced alarming rates of morbidity and mortality associated with these infections. Despite the CDC’s recommendation for influenza vaccination for all HCWs, compliance have been lagging among local health departments’ workforce. This practice arguably exposes a wide cross section of the U.S. population to the flu, while being served in these facilities. The utilitarian approach provides a framework to examine the ethical implications to the public of mandating influenza vaccination for these employees.
Methods: A systematic review of peer-reviewed literature was conducted to address the following research questions: 1) Do local public health departments in Georgia mandate annual influenza vaccinations? 2) What are the ethical considerations for mandating influenza vaccinations for public health employees? and 3) What are the ethical considerations for mandating influenza vaccinations for the community? Twenty-five articles were included in the review.
Results: Descriptive analysis shows that there is no mandatory vaccination policy in place for state or local departments in health in the state of Georgia. Most of the literature available relates to policy implementation within acute or long-term care facilities. A systematic review of mandatory influenza vaccination for public health workers focused on four areas: theoretical approaches to increase influenza vaccination coverage and support of, opposition to, and alternative strategies for influenza vaccinations.
Conclusions: The utilitarian approach is sufficient for the influenza vaccination policy- making strategies and in the ethical approaches of mandating influenza vaccinations for local health department workforce in Georgia if need be, for vaccination targets are to be achieved.
Keywords: Mandatory influenza vaccinations, local health departments, policy, ethics, utilitarian approach
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Miller, Melicent R.; Akubu-Odero, Maureen K.; Hunt, LaShauna L.; Irvin, Stephanie L.; Palmer, Catherine T.; and Mase, William A.
"Ethical Approaches to Mandating Influenza Vaccinations for Local Health Department Workforce in Georgia,"
Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association: Vol. 7
, Article 21.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/jgpha/vol7/iss2/21