Abstract: Student Immunization Requirements of U.S. Health Professional Schools (43rd National Immunization Conference (NIC))

51 Student Immunization Requirements of U.S. Health Professional Schools

Tuesday, March 31, 2009: 4:25 PM
Lone Star Ballroom C1
Suchita Lorick
Jovonni R. Spinner
Andrea Krull
Gina Mootrey
Faruque Ahmed
Rosa Myers
Raymond Strikas

Vaccination coverage for recommended vaccines among U.S. healthcare personnel (HCP) is suboptimal, particularly for influenza. In 2007, 45% of HCP were vaccinated against influenza, below the Healthy People 2010 goal of 60%. Immunization policies of schools training HCP may impact future vaccine uptake by health professionals and their patients.

Characterize student immunization requirements and related policies of health professional schools in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Self-administered internet-based survey distributed to deans of all medical, baccalaureate nursing, and osteopathic medical programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico (n=927). Survey will be fielded November-December 2008.

Results will be obtained by January 2009. Data on school location, public/private status, class size and years enrolling students will be collected. Results will include current or planned immunization requirements for entering students, types of proof of immunity and/or vaccination exemptions accepted, school requirements for hepatitis B titers, and additional immunization requirements for clinical rotations. Information on compliance with immunization requirements, including how compliance is tracked, deadlines for compliance and penalties for noncompliance, will be presented. The survey will also measure which organizations or individuals influence school immunization requirements, and how often and by whom requirements are reviewed and updated. Finally, availability and promotion of influenza vaccine on campus will be measured. Univariate and bivariate analyses of covariates will be presented. Results will be stratified by school type (medical, osteopathic medical, nursing), size, public/private status, and geographic region. School immunization requirements for health professional students will be compared to the most current ACIP recommendations for HCP vaccination.

To our knowledge, this survey will provide the first description of immunization policies at U.S. nursing and osteopathic medical schools, and the first description of medical school immunization policies since 1990. Data gathered by this survey will serve as the basis for future actions to improve HCP immunization rates.