Sanford Health to implement mandatory employee influenza vaccination policy

(Fargo, ND) - Sanford Health announced today it plans to implement mandatory influenza vaccinations for all Sanford employees and physicians effective with the 2013-2014 influenza season. The organization made the decision in order to maximize patient safety and protect its employees against influenza.

"This decision will protect our patients and also protect our employees during this upcoming influenza season. It's a decision that our physicians support. Sanford Health's physician leadership groups, our Boards of Governors, in all four of our regions have unanimously recommended mandatory influenza vaccinations for all employees," said Paul Carson, MD, medical director, Sanford Health infection prevention and control, Fargo region.

Mandatory influenza vaccinations for health care workers have been endorsed by prestigious health care organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations (SDAHO). Many health systems across the country are also implementing mandatory influenza vaccinations this year.

Sanford Bismarck has already demonstrated success with influenza vaccinations. The region successfully implemented mandatory influenza vaccinations for its employees in 2010 and has achieved near 100 percent vaccination.

The new policy includes employees and physicians, as well as students, volunteers, contracted workers, locums and vendors. Exceptions to the required immunization will be granted for medical or religious reasons only.