October/November 2016 (vol. 13/3)

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Research Plus

Flu vaccine for healthcare workers

Offering influenza vaccination to healthcare workers (HCWs) caring for patients aged over 60 in long-term care institutions has little benefit, this Cochrane systematic review[1] concludes. Four cluster-randomised controlled trials and one cohort study were included in the review. Vaccination of HCWs had no impact on the number of patients who developed laboratory-confirmed influenza (pooled risk difference = 0.00%; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.03– 0.03) (low-quality evidence). It had no significant impact on patients’ lower respiratory tract infections (moderate evidence), admission to hospital for, or deaths from, respiratory illness (both low-quality evidence). Influenza vaccine does not prevent infection in all cases: a previous systematic review2 found that vaccinated HCWs had an average influenza rate of 4.8% per season (95% CI 3.23%–7.16%), compared with 7.54% (CI 4.86%–11.70%) in non-vaccinated HCWs.


  1. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016; 6: CD005187. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005187.pub5
  2. PloS One 2011; 6(10): e26239. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026239


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2016 (vol. 13/3) pp40