This study aims to quantify the excess of sickness absenteeism among healthcare workers (HCWs), to estimate the impact of a severe versus moderate influenza season and to determine whether the vaccination rates are associated with reduced sickness absence.

We investigated the excess absenteeism that occurred in a large Italian hospital, 5300 HCWs, during the severe influenza season of 2017/2018 and compared it with three moderate flu seasons (2010/2013). Data on influenza vaccinations and absenteeism were obtained from the hospital’s databases. The data were split into two periods: the epidemic, from 42 to 17 weeks, and non-epidemic, defined as 18 to 41 weeks, which was used as the baseline. We stratified the absenteeism among HCWs in multiple variables.

Our study showed an increased absenteeism among HCWs during the epidemic period of severe season in comparison with non-epidemic periods, the absolute increase correlated with a relative increase of 70% (from 4.05 to 6.68 days/person). Vaccinated HCWs had less excess of absenteeism in comparison with non-vaccinated HCWs.

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