LESS than 50 per cent of ACT Health staff are vaccinated against the flu, the organisation's worst result for the past five years.
But a leading infectious disease expert says mandatory vaccinations would not stop the spread of flu in the territory's hospitals.
About 48 per cent of the Canberra Hospital and health services 5122 staff, including doctors, were vaccinated this year.
The figure was a drop from the 52.8 per cent vaccination rate in 2011 and well below the 60.7 per cent coverage achieved during the 2009 swine flu outbreak.
The drop below 50 per cent comes as Australia appears set for its worst influenza season since 2009.
There have been more than 8100 cases of flu reported so far this year.
In the ACT, there have been 281 confirmed cases of influenza since June and 315 for the year. The figure was up from 102 cases in the same period last year, but down from 787 in 2009. An estimated 2800 Australians die each year either directly from flu or from complications resulting from flu.
ACT Health said there have been fewer than five deaths a year for each of the last five years in the capital, including no deaths in 2008 and 2010.
Some hospitals in the United States have moved to make flu vaccinations compulsory for staff, fearing patients have caught the flu while in hospital.
Australian National University medical school infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon said mandatory jabs would be expensive and ineffective.
Professor Collignon said the vaccine cost about $10, when considering delivery cost, and was only about 50 per cent effective.
''If you want to have successful vaccination campaign, you want a vaccine that is about 90 per cent effective and only need one or two doses and it protects you for a long time,'' he said.
ACT Health said having the vaccine was a personal choice by staff.
A spokeswoman said vaccination was just one of many tools in influenza prevention. Other measures to stop the spread in healthcare facilities include infection control, handwashing, isolation of infectious patients and if unwell, staff are to stay at home.
The spokeswoman said the directorate would like to see an improvement in staff influenza vaccination rates, but compulsory vaccination was not on the horizon.
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