Impact of mRNA vaccines in curtailing SARS-CoV-2 infection and disability leave utilisation among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: Cross-sectional analysis from a tertiary healthcare system in the Greater Houston metropolitan area

Farhaan S. Vahidy, Alan P. Pan, Kobina Hagan, Abdulaziz T. Bako, Henry Dirk Sostman, Roberta L. Schwartz, Robert Phillips, Marc L. Boom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives We provide an account of real-world effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among healthcare workers (HCWs) at a tertiary healthcare system and report trends in SARS-CoV-2 infections and subsequent utilisation of COVID-19-specific short-term disability leave (STDL). Design Cross-sectional study. Setting and participants Summary data on 27 291 employees at a tertiary healthcare system in the Greater Houston metropolitan area between 15 December 2020 and 5 June 2021. The initial 12-week vaccination programme period (15 December 2020 to 6 March 2021) was defined as a rapid roll-out phase. Main outcomes and measures At the pandemic onset, HCW testing and surveillance was conducted where SARS-CoV-2-positive HCWs were offered STDL. Deidentified summary data of SARS-CoV-2 infections and STDL utilisation among HCWs were analysed. Prevaccination and postvaccination trends in SARS-CoV-2 positivity and STDL utilisation rates were evaluated. Results Updated for 5 June 2021, 98.2% (n=26 791) of employees received a full or partial dose of one of the approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccination rate during the rapid roll-out phase was approximately 3700 doses/7 days. The overall mean weekly SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates among HCWs were significantly lower following vaccine roll-out (2.4%), compared with prevaccination period (11.8%, p<0.001). An accompanying 69.8% decline in STDL utilisation was also observed (315 to 95 weekly leaves). During the rapid roll-out phase, SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate among Houston Methodist HCWs declined by 84.3% (8.9% to 1.4% positivity rate), compared with a 54.7% (12.8% to 5.8% positivity rate) decline in the Houston metropolitan area. Conclusion Despite limited generalisability of regional hospital-based studies - where factors such as the emergence of viral variants and population-level vaccine penetrance may differ - accounts of robust HCW vaccination programmes provide important guidance for sustaining a critical resource to provide safe and effective care for patients with and without COVID-19 across healthcare systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere054332
JournalBMJ open
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • health policy
  • infection control
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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