Why such a project?

The HProImmune project aims to promote immunization among HCWs, which is a vital issue for public health.

Pathogens transmitted via blood or infectious droplets, are known health and occupational risks for health care workers, many of which have died while caring for their patients.

- Examples include viral hemorrhagic fevers, SARS and Tuberculosis (TB) outbreaks.  

- Seasonal influenza, on the other hand, causes substantial direct and indirect disease burden every year as far as HCWs are concerned, who are at higher risk for both infection and transmission of influenza to high risk patients and colleagues causing nosocomial outbreaks.

• In relation to influenza, significant outbreaks in health care settings can lead to absenteeism resulting in inadequate staffing, which may in turn diminish quality of care and increase costs.

• Despite a relevant worker protection EU directive (2000/54/EC) that has already been transposed into national legislation, no significant increase in vaccination coverage has been recorded for HCWs.

No uniform recommendation exists for the particular vaccinations needed for HCWs, who in turn do not seem to comply with existing guidance and recommendations for vaccination.

• The EU Council recommendation of 22 December 2009 on seasonal influenza vaccination sets a clear target to reach by 2015 75% vaccination coverage for the older age groups and people with chronic diseases, as well as other high risk groups including, if possible, HCWs. The recent 2009 (H1N1) influenza pandemic experience offers an opportunity to draw valuable lessons for the appropriate approach to HCWs in order to achieve this goal, as the vaccination coverage rates varied significantly among the different countries (e.g. Greece 3,5%, France 8%, Norway 45%).

• Changing HCW behavior towards vaccination will also enable this group to serve as an accurate information source for their patients and communities and become a role model, as surveys showed that health professionals were highly trusted sources concerning advice on immunization with novel influenza vaccine.