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Review
, 7 Suppl 2 (Suppl 2), 93-6

Vaccination of Healthcare Workers to Protect Patients at Increased Risk of Acute Respiratory Disease: Summary of a Systematic Review

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Review

Vaccination of Healthcare Workers to Protect Patients at Increased Risk of Acute Respiratory Disease: Summary of a Systematic Review

Gayle P Dolan et al. Influenza Other Respir Viruses.

Abstract

Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of exposure to respiratory pathogens and may transmit infection to vulnerable patients. This study summarises a recent systematic review, which aimed to assess evidence that influenza or pneumococcal vaccination of HCWs provides indirect protection for those patients most at risk of severe or complicated acute respiratory infection. A number of healthcare databases and sources of grey literature were searched using a predefined strategy, and citations screened for eligibility in accordance with specified inclusion criteria. Risk of bias was assessed using validated tools and results summarised qualitatively. Twenty papers were included in the final review, all of which considered influenza vaccination of HCW. As such, planned subanalysis of pneumococcal vaccination was discarded. The majority of primary research studies included (11/14) were conducted in long-term care facilities, but there was marked heterogeneity in terms of the population, intervention/exposure and outcomes considered. Consistency in the direction of effect was observed across several different outcome measures, suggesting that influenza vaccination of HCWs is likely to offer some protection. Further evidence is, however, required from acute care settings.

Keywords: Human; Influenza; Medical staff; Patients; Public health; Transmission; Vaccination.

Conflict of interest statement

The University of Nottingham Health Protection Research Group is currently in receipt of research funds from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The group has recently accepted an unrestricted educational grant for influenza research from F. Hoffmann‐ La Roche. Research on influenza funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Astra‐Zeneca is also underway. JSN‐V‐T has given a talk on a related topic for which expenses were paid by the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases; he has received speaker honoraria from Sanofi‐Pasteur, MSD, F. Hoffmann‐ La Roche and GSK; and remuneration for consultancy work from Baxter AG, GSK, F. Hoffmann‐La Roche, Novartis and Solvay. All such paid consultancy and speaker engagements ceased in September 2010. JSN‐V‐T is a former employee of SmithKline Beecham, F. Hoffmann‐La Roche and Sanofi‐Pasteur MSD, all prior to 2005. RH is currently working on a project funded by Astra‐Zeneca, which considers attitudes to the use of intranasal influenza vaccine. RCH serves as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vaccines, which began after major contributions to manuscript. GPD has no potential conflicts to declare.

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