News release: Minnesota hospitals, nursing homes earn ribbons for high flu vaccination rates among staff

News Release
August 24, 2016

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Minnesota hospitals, nursing homes earn ribbons for high flu vaccination rates among staff

The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) FluSafe program celebrated its sixth year with 91 percent of participating hospitals and nursing homes receiving a blue, red or white ribbon for their efforts to vaccinate health care workers against flu.

A total of 153 facilities participated in FluSafe 2015-16. Facilities where at least 70 percent of health care workers got a flu vaccine in the 2015-16 season received a ribbon.
Ribbon count:

  • Blue ribbon (vaccination rate of 90 percent or greater) – 63 facilities
  • Red ribbon (vaccination rate of 80-89 percent) – 47 facilities
  • White ribbon (vaccination rate of 70-79 percent) – 29 facilities

“Athletes were going for medals at the Olympics, but hospitals and nursing homes in our FluSafe program were striving for ribbons – and the vast majority got one,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control at MDH. “All FluSafe participants made a commitment to promote flu vaccination for their employees, and they did a great job. We congratulate and thank them for their hard work.”

Many patients in hospitals and nursing homes are at high risk for complications from flu. The FluSafe program aims to get all health care workers, except those with medical exemptions, at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota vaccinated against flu each season. A high vaccination rate among health care workers reduces the chances of passing flu to patients, and it helps keep employees and their families healthy, MDH officials noted.

“Participating in FluSafe shows a commitment to patient safety,” said Denise Dunn, assistant section manager of the Vaccine-Preventable Disease Section at MDH. “The participating facilities are taking action to prevent the spread of flu by encouraging their employees to get vaccinated.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set a goal of vaccinating 90 percent of health care workers in its Healthy People 2020 objectives. 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 rates. The facilities record and document their vaccination rates through the state’s immunization information system, the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection. There are 147 hospitals and 377 nursing homes in the state.

More information on the FluSafe program, including a list of the 2015-16 facilities earning blue, red and white ribbons, can be found on


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications