Healthcare workers may be exposed to, and transmit, vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza, measles, rubella and pertussis. Maintaining immunity in the healthcare worker population helps prevent transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases to and from healthcare workers and patients.
Vaccination recommendations are determined by the likelihood of contact with patients, blood or body substances. Healthcare workers should receive the vaccines they require before or within the first few weeks of employment, except for influenza vaccine, which should be administered every year between March and May. Work activities, rather than job title, should be considered on an individual basis to ensure each healthcare worker has an appropriate level of protection.
Medical facilities should develop a comprehensive immunisation policy for all healthcare workers. Each worker should be individually assessed for specific vaccines, taking possible contraindications into account.
Work practices should include the use of standard and additional precautions to minimise exposure to blood and body fluids. If exposure does occur, follow guidelines for post-exposure prophylaxis. Ensure that post-exposure guidelines are easily accessible 24 hours a day.