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Flu jabs for care home staff save lives

Vaccinating workers in care homes against influenza can reduce morbidity and mortality in residents during periods of moderate influenza activity.

A total of 44 care homes were studied during the winter of 2003/04 when there was moderate influenza activity.

Vaccine coverage of full-time staff in the 22 homes in the intervention group was

48.2 per cent compared with 5.9 per cent in the matched control homes. There were high levels of vaccination among residents in both groups.

Significant reductions in morbidity, mortality, consultations for influenza-like illness and admissions occurred in the residents of homes in the intervention group.

This study provides strong evidence to support influenza vaccination of care home staff even when vaccine uptake by residents is high, say the investigators.

Reference

Hayward?AC, Harling R, Wetten S et al. Effectiveness of an influenza vaccine programme for care home staff

to prevent death, morbidity, and health service use among residents: cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2006; doi: 10.1136/bmj.39010.581354.55

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