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February 2011
Patient Care and Science
ACIP Urges Pertussis Vaccination for Health Care Workers

In response to recent pertussis outbreaks, the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at its February meeting recommended that all health care workers (HCW) regardless of age should receive a single dose of the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine as soon as possible, if they have not previously received it.

The revised guidance updates a previous recommendation that advised vaccination as soon as possible for health care personnel with direct patient contact and for other HCWs at a recommended interval. To fill in pertussis vaccination gaps, the committee in October 2010  also recommended a single dose of Tdap vaccine for adults 65 years of age and older who have close contact with infants less than one year old.

At February’s meeting, the committee also approved an update of general immunization recommendations for HCWs, which advise that workers should be protected against hepatitis B, influenza (with annual vaccination), measles, mumps, and rubella. Where indicated because of special risk and/or exposure, meningococcal, typhoid and polio vaccination may be added as well. In general, a hospital or other health facility should monitor the immunization status of personnel and make appropriate vaccines available, according to the recommendations, said IDSA’s ACIP liaison, Samuel Katz, MD, FIDSA.

ACIP members also discussed use of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which the committee recommended for use in males last year. ACIP’s current permissive recommendation, which stops short of calling for routine use in males, will remain in effect until more convincing data on cost effectiveness are available, according to Dr. Katz.

ACIP recommendations become official once approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in MMWR.
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