Background: The association of hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) antibodies with protection from influenza among healthcare personnel (HCP) with occupational exposure to influenza viruses has not been well-described.
Methods: The Respiratory Protection Effectiveness Clinical Trial was a cluster-randomized, multisite study that compared medical masks to N95 respirators in preventing viral respiratory infections among HCP in outpatient healthcare settings for 5180 participant-seasons. Serum HAI antibody titers before each influenza season and influenza virus infection confirmed by polymerase chain reaction were studied over 4 study years.
Results: In univariate models, the risk of influenza A(H3N2) and B virus infections was associated with HAI titers to each virus, study year, and site. HAI titers were strongly associated with vaccination. Within multivariate models, each log base 2 increase in titer was associated with 15%, 26% and 33%-35% reductions in the hazard of influenza A(H3N2), A(H1N1), and B infections, respectively. Best models included preseason antibody titers and study year, but not other variables.
Conclusions: HAI titers were associated with protection from influenza among HCP with routine exposure to patients with respiratory illness and influenza season contributed to risk. HCP can be reassured about receiving influenza vaccination to stimulate immunity.
Keywords: correlates of protection; healthcare personnel; hemagglutination inhibition antibodies; influenza virus.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.