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WHO - Influenza Health Worker Vaccination Programmes: Platforms for Pandemic Preparedness. 30 March 2024

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  • WHO - Influenza Health Worker Vaccination Programmes: Platforms for Pandemic Preparedness. 30 March 2024

    30 March 2024

    WHO recommends that HWs be vaccinated against a number of antigens [I](). Globally, countries have most frequently reported vaccinating HWs against hepatitis B, seasonal influenza and measles ([ii]). In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn global attention to the importance of vaccinating health and workers (HWs). Countries are expressing interest in building from their experiences deploying COVID-19 vaccination to develop or strengthen national HW vaccination programmes.

    WHO headquarters, regional, and country offices have worked closely with ministries of health to document examples from Argentina, Mongolia, Oman, Paraguay and Thailand. These vignettes provide illuminating snapshots of national HW vaccination programmes and have been published here: Influenza health worker vaccination programmes: platforms for pandemic preparedness

    This new publication documents countries’ experiences leveraging HW vaccination for seasonal influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases to support COVID-19 vaccine introduction. In addition, it provides insight into the structure, motivations, and value of the HW vaccination programmes. A brief overview of key themes identified in the five country vignettes include:
    • Legal basis: In Argentina, the introduction of a national legal framework for health worker vaccination was a key enabler of seasonal influenza vaccination and supported COVID-19 vaccine introduction.
    • Community buy-in: In Mongolia, HWs are important drivers of seasonal influenza vaccination uptake, as they can communicate the importance and safety of annual seasonal influenza vaccination to their patients. HWs are critical champions of influenza vaccination who encourage uptake of seasonal influenza vaccines (and COVID-19 vaccines) by other target populations.
    • Nudge: Oman has a seasonal influenza vaccination programme goal of achieving and maintaining at least 95% coverage among high-risk groups. HW vaccination against seasonal influenza is voluntary. However, non-vaccinated HWs are required to sign a refusal form, moved to noncritical care functions, and must use their annual leave instead of their sick leave if they become sick with influenza.
    • All day, all night delivery: In Paraguay, health institutions have a vaccinator and an immunization programme manager who are responsible for checking the vaccination status of HWs, promoting uptake of the vaccines and providing vaccination. Vaccination is provided to both day and night shifts to enable access for all HWs.
    • Pandemic preparedness: In Thailand, using existing influenza vaccine management strategies and structures enabled the country to quickly reach high coverage rates for COVID-19 vaccination as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine supply was sufficient.