Health care workers and immunity to infectious diseases

Project Status

Chief Investigators
Sanjyot Vagholkar, Jude Ng, Raymond Chan, Jeremy Bunker, Nick Zwar


Health care worker (HCW) immunity to infectious diseases has become an integral part of occupational health and safety policy in health care organizations. Studies have however shown HCW immunity to vaccine preventable diseases is not optimal. In 2002 NSW Health introduced a revised policy for occupational screening and vaccination of HCWs. Two healthcare facilities in SSWAHS, Bankstown and Fairfield, commenced implementation of the policy in 2003. Screening and vaccination was provided by the GP Unit at Fairfield Hospital and Eldridge Rd Medical Centre at Bankstown. Screening serology results from these two centres provided an opportunity to examine HCW immunity in an Australian setting.


To describe the uptake of occupational screening by staff of Bankstown and Fairfield facilities for the period 2003-2005, and report the level of immunity to the following infectious diseases: hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella.

Design and Method

This was a descriptive study which involved a retrospective analysis of data collected by the Bankstown and Fairfield staff screening and vaccination centres. De-identified data about patients’ age, sex, staff risk category and immunity to hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella for the period September 1 2003 to August 31 2005 was entered into an SPSS database and then analysed. Demographic data and immunity was reported quantitatively and cross tabulation of immunity versus age, sex and staff risk category was performed.

Key Publications

Vagholkar S, Ng J, Chan R, Bunker J, Zwar N. Healthcare workers and immunity to infectious diseases. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2008; 32:367-71.