The majority of hospitals now require their employees to get flu shots, but adoption of the practice lags far behind Veteran's Administration hospitals, a new study found.
Last flu season was one of the most deadly in years for the US, killing a record-setting number of children and adults.
Flu viruses can be transmitted anywhere, but health care settings can be particular hot beds, as there is a high concentration of sick people and many patients with weakened immune systems.
In response, 70 percent of hospitals have rapidly introduced mandatory vaccination programs in recent years, but the VA's shot requirements have stayed stagnant, leaving their patients vulnerable, a University of Michigan study reveals.
Less than five percent of Veterans Affairs hospitals require their employees to get flu shots, despite the fact that many of their patients are over 65 and particularly vulnerable to the virus
The 2017-2018 flu season left Americans reeling.
Unlike most iterations of the annual epidemic, this most recent sweep of the virus not only claimed the lives of the sick, elderly and infants, but killed many young adults as well.
Some blamed the poorly-matched flu vaccine - estimated to be only about 30 percent effective against the dominant and deadly H3N2 strain - for being a poor defense against the virus.
Throughout the season, though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintained that getting the shot was still the best way to protect oneself from the flu and prevent its rapid spread across the US.
Vaccinated or not, more than 30,000 Americans were hospitalized with the flu between October 2017 and the end or April 2018.
The hospitals were left short-handed, short-supplied and stretched thin.
According to the new University of Michigan research, published in JAMA Network Open, 70 percent of those hospitals had requirements to that employees get vaccinated against the virus.
This is particularly important in health care settings which are teeming with bacteria, viruses, and people who are already sick or having surgery, for whom the contraction of one more bug could prove fatal.
In general, hospitals have gotten much better about vaccination requirements, which are 44 percent more common now than they just four years ago in 2013.
It is a myth that the flu shot can give you the flu.
'There isn't any live virus in the influenza vaccine so it's impossible to get the flu from the vaccine,' said Dr Tosh from the Mayo Clinic.