In the midst of National Immunization Awareness Month, the country’s leading organization for nurses says that its members should be immunized, too.
A national nurses organization wants to set an example near the tail end of National Immunization Awareness Month.
In a news release last week, the American Nurses Association (ANA) said that it is calling for all individuals, including registered nurses (RNs), to be immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases, with the only exemptions being for medical or religious reasons.
Time for a Change
The policy change may be a sign that ANA wants its nurses (it represents 3.4 million RNs) to be up to par with national standards.
“ANA’s new position aligns registered nurses with the best current evidence on immunization safety and preventing diseases such as measles,” said President Pamela F. Cipriano .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long recommended that nurses immunize themselves with vaccines that may prevent active diseases. And a CDC division, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, focuses specifically on issuing vaccine recommendations.
For healthcare workers, the CDC has a page listing the vaccines it recommends they get.
National Health Concerns
ANA’s fresh advocacy on the issue comes in the wake of a widely reported measles outbreak earlier this year.
Although the disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, outbreaks still occur because measles are brought into the country by unvaccinated travelers. The CDC reported 188 cases from several measles outbreaks across 24 states. ANA doesn’t want the disease to spread further through its nurses.
“A critical component of a nurse’s job is to educate patients and their family members about the effectiveness of immunization as a safe method of disease prevention to protect not only individuals but also the public health,” Cipriano added in the ANA news release.
Even so, healthcare workers may show documentation of medical or religious reasons in requesting not to immunize themselves, ANA said.