GREAT NECK, NY – The North Shore-LIJ Health System announced today that a record 90 percent of its 47,000 employees received flu vaccinations in the weeks leading up to New York State’s declaration Thursday about the start of flu season. The numbers continue a four-year upward trend in compliance.
Under a New York State Department of Health mandate issued this year, all health care workers who have yet to get a flu shot will be wearing surgical masks while they are in patient areas. Now that a flu emergency has been declared, every medical staff member, health facility employee, student, volunteer and vendor/contractor who could come in contact with patients must either receive the flu shot or wear a surgical mask in patient areas.
In early October, North Shore-LIJ began administering free flu shots to employees and educating them about the importance of the vaccine in protecting patients against the virus. “Our number one priority is ensuring the health of our employees and our patients,” said Eugene Tangney, regional executive director at North Shore-LIJ who has been overseeing the vaccination campaign. “In response to our campaign to educate employees on the importance of protecting themselves and patients against this potentially deadly virus, we have been pleased to see a steady increase in the number of employees receiving the vaccine – to a record 90 percent of our workforce.”
The US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention noted that adults can spread the flu virus up to 24 hours before they have any symptoms of the flu.
“Every year, the influenza virus causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the US and thousands of deaths,” said Donna Armellino, RN, North Shore-LIJ Health System’s vice president of infection prevention. “These statistics are troubling, especially considering the preventability of influenza and the well-documented safety and effectiveness of the flu shot.”
In the wake of Thursday’s emergency announcement by the state, the health system is continuing its proactive outreach to employees.
About North Shore-LIJ Health System
One of the nation’s largest health care systems, North Shore-LIJ delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a visionary approach to medical education highlighted by the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. North Shore-LIJ cares for people at every stage of life at 16 hospitals and nearly 400 outpatient physician practices throughout the region. North Shore-LIJ’s owned hospitals and long-term care facilities house more than 6,000 beds, employ more than 10,000 nurses and have affiliations with more than 9,400 physicians. With a workforce of more than 47,000, North Shore-LIJ is the largest employer on Long Island and the third-largest private employer in New York City. For more information, go to www.northshorelij.com.