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Systematic review
No evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevents flu in elderly residents in long-term care facilities
  1. G A van Essen
  1. Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to G A van Essen
    Paladijnenweg 30, 38133 DJ Amersfoort, The Netherlands; gavessen{at}

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Since health care workers (HCWs) are often in contact with flu patients, they are considered a potential source of transmission. ‘Do not harm’ is the first obligation of every doctor. Avoiding nosocomial infections is an important patient-safety issue. Flu is easily prevented in healthy adults, whereas influenza vaccination is not very effective in frail elderly. Influenza vaccine is safe and cheap, and hence there is a good rationale for HCWs to receive influenza vaccination. Still, in many countries vaccination rates in HCWs are far below the coverage in at-risk patients.1

Doubt about effectiveness and fear of side effects are usually mentioned …

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  • Competing interests GAvE is a member of the European Scientific Working group on Influenza (ESWI), an independent group of European scientists promoting the study of influenza. ESWI is equally financed by all manufacturers of influenza vaccines and antiviral medicines.