Vaccines for healthcare-associated infections: present, future, and expectations

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2018 May;17(5):421-433. doi: 10.1080/14760584.2018.1470507. Epub 2018 May 7.


Introduction: In spite of the widespread implementation of preventive strategies, the prevalence of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) remains high. HAIs are associated with multidrug resistant organisms, and in the post-antibiotic era, alternative strategies such as vaccines are needed for their management.

Areas covered: Vaccines to prevent HAIs could be proposed to at-risk patients, or to healthcare workers (HCWs) to prevent cross-transmission. After searches in Pubmed and, existing vaccines and vaccines under clinical development are presented in this narrative review. Issues associated with the use of vaccines to prevent HAIs are discussed.

Expert commentary: Future vaccines against HAIs will contribute to fight antibiotic resistance and thus reduce the burden of HAIs. At this stage, the goal of obtaining effective vaccines against S.aureus, C. difficile and gram-negative bacteria has not yet been achieved. Obtaining an efficient response to vaccines in at-risk patients for HAIs is also challenging, and future strategies of vaccination need to address this difficulty. The efficacy of vaccines for HCWs in reducing the spread of nosocomial outbreaks is counterbalanced by the lack of adherence to vaccine policies among HCWs. The acceptance of future vaccines to prevent carriage and infection with organisms involved in HAIs in HCWs will probably be a challenge.

Keywords: Healthcare-associated infections; antimicrobial resistance; cross-transmission; immunization; prevention; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prevalence
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage*


  • Vaccines