A report by the non-profit Iowa Healthcare Collaborative shows Iowa hospital workers are getting seasonal influenza vaccines at much higher rates than the national average. Lance Roberts, data coordinator with the Collaborative, says 91% of Iowa hospital staff were vaccinated this past flu season.

That compares to a nationwide figure of 49% in the 2007 to 2008 season, the most recent year national data was available. That season, Iowa’s rate was 76%. Roberts says Iowa’s rates have been boosted by a statewide effort to encourage hospital workers to get the shots.

“We all came together – hospitals, stakeholders, infection control specialists across the state. We knew it was important from a worker and a patient perspective,” Roberts said. The flu vaccines are considered especially important in hospitals where employees work around people with diminished immune systems.

“It’s a condition (the flu) that can be passed on quite easily from person to person,” Roberts said. “It behooves all of us to be immunized so we don’t pass on these types of conditions.” The report is based on numbers reported to the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative by Iowa hospitals.