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Our aim was to review the evidence of efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccination of health-care workers in reducing cases of influenza-like illness, influenza, complications from influenza, death from influenza, and death from all causes among the elderly people they care for in institutions. We searched 11 electronic databases in any language and identified two cluster-randomised controlled trials with moderate risk of bias and one cohort study at high risk of bias that addressed our questions. Staff vaccination had a significant effect on influenza-like illness (vaccine effectiveness [VE] 86%, 95% CI 40-97%) only when patients were vaccinated too. If patients were not vaccinated, staff immunisation had no effect. Vaccinating health-care workers did not appear efficacious against influenza (RR 0·87, 95% CI 0·46-1·63). There was no significant effect of vaccination on lower respiratory tract infections: (RR 0·70, 95% CI 0·41-1·20). Deaths from pneumonia were significantly reduced (VE 39%, 95% CI 2-62%), as were deaths from all causes (VE 40%, 95% CI 27-50%). These findings must be interpreted in the light of possible selection, performance, attrition, and detection biases. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Infectious Diseases

Publication Date





273 - 279