This study was designed to evaluate the health and economic benefits of a workplace vaccination programme against influenza funded by the employer. Employees of a Malaysian petrochemical plant volunteered to take part in this prospective, non-randomised, non-placebo-controlled study. Demographic and health information, including influenza-like symptoms, sick leave and post-vaccination adverse events were collected via questionnaires. Cost-benefit analyses were performed from the employer's perspective. Results: A total of 1,022 employees took part in the study, with 504 choosing to be vaccinated against influenza, and 518 remaining unvaccinated. The rate of influenza-like illness (ILI) was lower among vaccinated (8.13%) than non-vaccinated subjects (30.31%). Fever and respiratory symptoms were associated with all ILI cases. ILI-related sick leave was taken by 58.54% of vaccinated employees with ILI and 71.34% of non-vaccinated employees with ILI. Vaccination was financially beneficial, with the employer saving up to US$ 53.00 per vaccinated employee when labour costs only were considered. Savings rose to up to US$ 899.70 when the operating income of each employee was also considered. Workplace vaccination of healthy adults against influenza had a clear impact on ILI rates, absenteeism and reduced productivity in this Malaysian company. The health benefits translated into financial benefits for the employer, with cost savings significantly outweighing the costs of the vaccination programme.
2006 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health