Volume 35, Issue 12, Pages 1579-1662 (14 March 2017)
Immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases in Finnish pediatric healthcare workers in 2015
Original Research Article
Karoliina Koivisto, Laura Puhakka, Maija Lappalainen, Soile Blomqvist, Harri Saxén, Tea Nieminen
Healthcare workers (HCWs) pose a risk to themselves and their patients if not protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Alarmingly, lacking immunity has been reported in several studies. We assessed the immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases in 157 pediatric HCWs in Helsinki Children’s Hospital. The HCWs enrolled answered a questionnaire and gave a serum sample. Antibodies were measured with EIA against MMR-diseases, tetanus and diphtheria toxins, Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis A (HAV), varicella zoster and pertussis toxin. Neutralizing antibodies against poliovirus 1, 2 and 3 were measured. All of the HCWs had antibodies against tetanus and 89.8% against diphtheria. All had measurable levels of polio antibodies to all three polioviruses. 41% had suboptimal levels of antibodies against at least one of the antigens tested: MMR-viruses, diphtheria, HBV or polio. Measles, mumps and rubella antibodies were detectable in 81.5%, 89.2% and 93%, respectively. Only one HCW had no varicella-antibodies. Hepatitis B surface antibodies (HBsAb) were detected in 89.8% of the nurses. 67.5% had HAV-antibodies. A poor correlation between detected antibody levels and reported vaccination history was noticed, indicating a need for a universal record system for registering the vaccines given to each individual.