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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 2 (1991), Issue 3, Pages 101-108
Original Article

Effectiveness and Cost-Benefit of an Influenza Vaccination Program for Health Care Workers

Annalee Yassi,2 Joel Kettner,1 Greg Hammond,3 Mary Cheang,1 and Myrna McGill2

1Department of Community Health Sciences and Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
2Department Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Health Sciences Centre, Surgery and Family Medicine, Cadham Provincial Laboratory, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
3Department of Medical Microbiology, Biostatistical Consulting Unit, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Received 16 October 1990; Accepted 5 February 1991

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study retrospectively reviewed the effectiveness of a vaccination program for hospital workers in a large tertiary care hospital, quantified influenza-induced absenteeism, and examined the factors determining the costs and benefits of this program. Absenteeism among high risk hospital workers was increased by 35% (P=0.001) during the virulent influenza epidemic of 1987–88. Benefits, measured as the value of sick time avoided, compared with costs, including materials, occupational nursing staff time, employee time during vaccination, and time lost due to adverse reactions, revealed a net benefit of $39.23 per vaccinated employee. Sensitivity analyses highlighted vaccine efficacy and absenteeism due to influenza and adverse reactions to vaccination as the most important factors; with time lost due to adverse reactions as much as 0.013 days per vaccinated employee and a vaccine efficacy of 70%, net positive benefits could be achieved if influenza-induced absenteeism is 0.5% or greater of paid employee time during the epidemic season. The results suggested that the net cost-benefit of a hospital employee vaccination program to decrease both employee morbidity and nosocomial influenza among patients, would be increased by active promotion of the vaccination program, especially for employees in high risk areas.