Perham Health was among 69 hospitals and nursing homes from around the state recognized today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among facility employees during the 2018-19 flu season.

For the 2018-19 season, 449 Perham Health employees, representing 95 percent of staff, received influenza vaccinations. Of the 246 Perham Living employees, 91 percent, received the vaccination. In addition to aiming for 90% or higher influenza vaccination rates among employees, participating FluSafe facilities also worked to address a barrier to vaccination during the past season.

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

“Our patients’ health is our top priority,” said Chuck Hofius, CEO of Perham Health. “Participating in the FluSafe program helps us increase employee influenza vaccination rates and prevent flu from spreading to our patients. We also want all of our employees to be as healthy as possible during flu season.”

Of the 109 facilities that participated in FluSafe this year, 69 were recognized by MDH for achieving flu vaccination rates of 90% or higher among staff and reporting on a barrier to vaccination.

“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.

Health care 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 2018-19 facilities can be found on FluSafe Facilities (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/flu/hcp/vaccine/flusafefac.html).