Giving flu vaccination our best shot – for the 4th year in a row!

blueribbon graphic for 90 to 100 percent of staff vaccinatedHennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) was among 139 hospitals and nursing homes from around the state recognized by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among facility employees during the 2016-17 flu season.

HCMC reported that 6,818 employees, representing more than 90 percent of its staff, received influenza vaccinations during the past season of the Minnesota FluSafe program. The facility received a blue ribbon and certificate of achievement from Minnesota Commissioner of Health Edward Ehlinger for its efforts.

This was the 3rd year in a row HCMC was recognized for its flu vaccination program with more than 90 percent participation.

“We recognize the importance of keeping influenza under control – and being recognized by the FluSafe program is an excellent boost to our system,” explains Josh Gramling, RN, PhD, Manager of Employee Occupational Health and Wellness. “We certainly appreciate the excellent support of our partners at MDH and our outstanding employees who roll up their sleeves year after year and do what’s needed to keep themselves – and our patients – healthy.”

In addition to vaccinating its own staff, HCMC’s Flu and Worksite Wellness team also conducts on-site flu clinics with businesses and schools. Last year, Flu and Worksite Wellness coordinated 1,385 clinics across Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, giving over 71,600 flu shots. Keeping the flu from spreading is not just an initiative among employees and patients who visit the hospital but, rather, extends into the communities where patients live, work, learn and play.

The FluSafe program aims to get 100 percent of all healthcare personnel at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. According to state health officials, unvaccinated healthcare workers can potentially pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza.

First employee flu shot

Dana Langness, RN was the first to get her flu vaccine at HCMC this year.

Of the 149 facilities that participated in FluSafe this year, 67 reached vaccination rates of 90 percent or greater, 41 reached rates of between 80 and 89 percent, and 31 reached rates of between 70 and 79 percent.

“After seven years of FluSafe, we continue to be grateful for – and impressed by – the important steps participating facilities are taking to prevent flu through health care worker vaccination,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control at MDH.

Healthcare facilities participating in the FluSafe program receive guidance and access to tools and promotional materials from MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help them increase their influenza vaccination rates. The facilities record and document their vaccination rates through the state’s immunization information system, the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC).

More information on the FluSafe program, including a list of the 2016-17 facilities earning blue, red, and white ribbons, can be found on