Ms Alexandra Hoskins1, Associate Professor Leon Worth1,2, Associate Professor Noleen Bennett1,3
1VICNISS, Melbourne, Australia
22 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
3Department of Nursing, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Introduction: Australian and international guidelines recommend that healthcare workers (HCWs) have access to vaccines and serological testing to assure protection against vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). In March 2020, legislation was passed that mandates the vaccination of all Victorian HCWs. Whilst existing
Victorian policy supports this legislation, compliance with the guidelines is not well known. We sought to review current measles and hepatitis B immunity status, and historical influenza vaccine uptake of Victorian HCWs.
Methods: All Victorian public healthcare facilities were required to report HCW influenza vaccination uptake annually from 2014 to 2020. Small Victorian public healthcare facilities were required to also complete a point prevalence survey of HCW hepatitis B immunity status in 2016-2017 and HCW measles immunity status in 2017-2018. Facility-level aggregate data were captured regarding compliance with vaccination programs.
Results: During the study period, overall rates of HCW influenza vaccination uptake increased each year, culminating in a rate of 93% in 2020. HCW hepatitis B immunity in 2016-2017 was 59.1% and HCW measles immunity in 2017-2018 was 67.1% -‘Unknown’ status was reported in 21.3% and 29.1%, respectively.
Conclusion: HCW compliance with recommended immunisation guidelines is notably higher for influenza than for measles and hepatitis B. Possible reasons for this include the inclusion of HCW influenza vaccination uptake as an annual key performance indicator for Victorian hospitals. Future policy directives for HCW vaccination should proceed with acknowledgement of the potential benefit of including a range of VPDs as performance indicators.
Alex has 16 years experience as an Infection Control Consultant and has been working at the Victorian Healthcare Associated Infections Surveillance Coordinating Centre for the last 5 years. She provides support and education to ICPs on all infection prevention and control issues and also the healthcare associated infection surveillance requirements for hospitals in Victoria.
Alex has a particular enthusiasm for education. She identifies the importance of education in infection control principles and practices to those working at the coal face of clinical care.
Alex is also a nurse immuniser and is committed to ensuring healthcare workers are protected from the full range of vaccine preventable diseases.