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Where does Joint Commission stand on flu shots for healthcare workers?

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This article originally appeared in Hospital Safety Insider.

The current flu season is "still on the rise," the CDC said last Friday. Flu-related hospitalizations climbing to about 60 people out of every 100,000 in the fifth week of 2018, per CDC's weekly surveillance report.

In addition to recommending rigorous hand hygiene and requiring healthcare workers to wear a mask when near flu patients, the CDC recommends they get vaccinated annually. But in many states, healthcare workers are not required by law to do so.

Some healthcare facilities across the country have instituted a mandatory flu shot policy for employees, as long as they don’t have a health condition that could be compromised by the vaccine or object to being vaccinated on religious grounds.

But where does The Joint Commission (TJC) stand on this issue?

Currently, TJC does not mandate that facilities require flu shots for its personnel, per the latest newsletter from our colleagues at Inside the Joint Commission.

But Infection Control standard IC.02.04.01 does require that a facility offer the vaccine to its practitioners and staff if they provide treatment or services on site. Facilities must also provide education about the flu and why the vaccine is recommended.

For that, there are plenty of useful flu-related resources over at CDC's website.

There is plenty of evidence suggesting that flu shots are a no-brainer idea for healthcare workers. TJC obviously agrees, despite stopping short of mandating them.