Large scale studies of influenza vaccination in industry have recently been started. The studies are of two types:
(a) Vaccination was offered to a factory and a record maintained of sickness absence of all employees, both the vaccinated volunteers and the non-volunteers. In five different factories, the average acceptance rate was 42%.
An analysis of the volunteers in one factory indicated that acceptance of vaccination was highest in middle-aged married women and low in younger and older men.
(b) In the Post Office telecommunications branch vaccination was offered to 26,317 employees in eighty-eight units in different parts of the country; 42% of these accepted vaccination. Ninety-eight other units, employing 25,202 employees, are acting as unvaccinated controls. Sickness absence is being recorded in both groups of units.
In both these groups of studies it is aimed to compare the absence experience of the immunized and non-immunized groups for a prolonged period, both when influenza is and is not occurring.
Preliminary findings are presented of the absence figures for January and February 1972, during which time a mild outbreak of influenza occurred, with only a small effect on sickness absence. Vaccinated persons in factories had lower absence rates than the non-vaccinated persons, and telecommunications units in which vaccination was offered experienced lower absence rates with less respiratory absence.
The significance of these findings is discussed.
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