|Abstract||OBJECTIVE: To determine whether vaccination of care home staff against influenza indirectly protects residents. |
DESIGN: Pair matched cluster randomised controlled trial.
SETTING: Large private chain of UK care homes during the winters of 2003-4 and 2004-5.
PARTICIPANTS: Nursing home staff (n=1703) and residents (n=2604) in 44 care homes (22 intervention homes and 22 matched control homes).
INTERVENTIONS: Vaccination offered to staff in intervention homes but not in control homes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was all cause mortality of residents. Secondary outcomes were influenza-like illness and health service use in residents.
RESULTS: In 2003-4 vaccine coverage in full time staff was 48.2% (407/884) in intervention homes and 5.9% (51/859) in control homes. In 2004-5 uptake rates were 43.2% (365/844) and 3.5% (28/800). National influenza rates were substantially below average in 2004-5. In the 2003-4 period of influenza activity significant decreases were found in mortality of residents in intervention homes compared with control homes (rate difference -5.0 per 100 residents, 95% confidence interval -7.0 to -2.0) and in influenza-like illness (P=0.004), consultations with general practitioners for influenza-like illness (P=0.008), and admissions to hospital with influenza-like illness (P=0.009). No significant differences were found in 2004-5 or during periods of no influenza activity in 2003-4.
CONCLUSIONS: Vaccinating care home staff against influenza can prevent deaths, health service use, and influenza-like illness in residents during periods of moderate influenza activity.