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Infection. 2009 Feb;37(1):29-33. doi: 10.1007/s15010-008-8002-6. Epub 2009 Jan 12.

Impact of vaccinating HCWs on the ward and possible influence of avian flu threat.

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Medical Direction, University Hospital of Udine, Piazzale S. Maria della Misericordia, 15, 33100, Udine, Italy.



The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of a 2-year vaccination program on the compliance of healthcare workers (HCWs) employed in an acute care university hospital to influenza vaccination.


The study was carried out in October/November from 2004 to 2006 in a 286-bed acute care university hospital located in northern Italy employing 523 HCWs. The study cohort consisted of 473 HCWs continuously present in the hospital from 2004 to 2006. In 2005 and 2006, a vaccination campaign was made available in the wards that supplemented a pre-existing (2004) employee health service program. A personalized informative letter was sent to all HCWs explaining the risks and benefits of influenza vaccination for both patients and HCWs and indicating the scheduling of the additional vaccination service.


The additional 2005 and 2006 campaigns produced significantly higher vaccination rates among HCWs than those achieved in previous years, from 10.4% in 2004 to 36.6% in 2005 and 23.2% in 2006. The year 2005 was characterized by an avian flu threat, which likely accounted for the highest vaccination rate of the 3-year study period. Physicians had the highest vaccination rates in the 3-year period (20.8%), while nurses in 2005 had the highest single vaccination rate (42.5%).


Providing easy access to vaccination in the wards is a useful approach for improving vaccination rates among HCWs, but further tailored interventions are needed because overall vaccination rates remain too low. Subgroups, such as nurses and ancillary staff, should be considered as specific targets of such vaccination programs.

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