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Immunisation for the Protection of Healthcare Staff

Washing handsThe Department of Health’s Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (‘The Green Book’) [1] advises on immunisations for the protection of staff as follows:

  • Staff involved in clinical procedures or who may have direct contact with patients’ blood or blood-stained body fluids, including those at risk of injury from blood-contaminated sharps, are offered vaccination against Hepatitis B.
  • All staff who have regular clinical contact with patients and who are directly involved in patient care should be up to date with their routine immunisations, i.e. Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR). Varicella, Seasonal influenza, and BCG (TB) vaccinations should also be considered.
  • For non-clinical staff, routine immunisations as above are recommended based on assessment of risk.

Recommendations for routine immunisation can vary over time and in different locations.  Advice from the local Health Board or Occupational Health Service (OHS) should be sought depending on local arrangements.

Document the practice’s policy on immunisation and ensure that staff are aware of and follow it (see Health Clearance and Immunisation Policy Aug 2021 template (Word).

Obtain the latest advice on immunisation requirements from your local Health Board or OHS, including the level of anti-hepatitis B antibodies required (as this can vary in different regions) and advice on non-responders.

Ensure all clinical staff and others who may have contact with patients’ blood and blood-stained body fluids (e.g. staff involved in instrument decontamination) are vaccinated against HBV and have other routine immunisations/checks.

*Immunisation for HBV is recommended for all staff with these roles

Should you require evidence of an employee’s immune status, first obtain consent from the employee to approach their GP or the OHS and ensure that this information is stored securely and confidentially in line with the Data Protection Act (2018) [2]

Ensure staff are aware of local policies and procedures regarding exposure to blood/body fluids.

Sources of Information

[1] Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (‘The Green Book’).Department of Health (2021), Chapter 18

[2]Data Protection Act (2018) c.12 [Online] The Stationery Office. London