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Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2011 Nov;5(6):382-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00240.x. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Vaccination of health-care workers against influenza: our obligation to protect patients.

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Department for Interventions in Health-Care Facilities, Hellenic Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, Athens, Greece.


Nosocomial influenza poses a threat for specific groups of patients and is associated not only with the disruption of health-care services but also excess costs. Although vaccination of health-care workers (HCWs) has been recommended for almost three decades and constitutes the most convenient and effective means to prevent nosocomial transmission, vaccine uptake within this group remains unacceptably low worldwide. In regard to the pandemic influenza A H1N1, HCWs constitute a priority group for immunization. Nevertheless, low vaccination rates have been documented regarding the influenza pandemic and associated with the onset of nosocomial cases and outbreaks. HCWs, health-care institutions, and public health bodies have the moral obligation to protect vulnerable patients and therefore weigh the benefits of mandatory vaccination. Key effective interventions, such as the education of HCWs concerning the benefits and safety of influenza vaccination, the reinforcement of on-site, free of charge vaccinations, and the use of mobile vaccination teams in conjunction with incentives, should be widely implemented.

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