Association of increased influenza vaccination in health care workers with a reduction in nosocomial influenza infections in cancer patients

Frenzel, E. et al. American Journal of Infection Control. Published online: 5 May 2016

Highlights: 

  • We applied a multifaceted influenza vaccination program in a cancer center.
  • Mandatory influenza vaccination program effectively increased health care worker vaccination rates.
  • Improvement in health care worker vaccination rates reduced the proportion of nosocomial infections.

Background: Vaccination of health care workers (HCWs) remains a key strategy to reduce the burden of influenza infections in cancer patients.

Methods: In this 8-year study, we evaluated the effect of a multifaceted approach, including a mandatory influenza vaccination program, on HCW vaccination rates and its effect on nosocomial influenza infections in cancer patients.

Results: The influenza vaccination rate of all employees significantly increased from 56% (8,762/15,693) in 2006-2007 to 94% (17,927/19,114) in 2013-2014 (P < .0001). The 2009 mandatory participation program increased HCW vaccination rates in the targeted groups (P < .0001), and the addition of an institutional policy in 2012 requiring influenza vaccination or surgical mask use with each patient contact further increased vaccination rates by 10%-18% for all groups in 1 year. The proportion of nosocomial influenza infections significantly decreased (P = .045) during the study period and was significantly associated with increased HCW vaccination rates in the nursing staff (P = .043) and in personnel working in high-risk areas (P = .0497).

Conclusions: Multifaceted influenza vaccination programs supported by institutional policy effectively increased HCW vaccination rates. Increased HCW vaccination rates were associated with a reduction in the proportion of nosocomial influenza infections in immunocompromised cancer patients.

Read the abstract here

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