Inability to work following COVID-19 vaccination-a relevant aspect for future booster vaccinations.
Reusch J., Wagenhäuser I., Gabel A., Höhn A., Lâm T-T., Krone LB., Frey A., Schubert-Unkmeir A., Dölken L., Frantz S., Kurzai O., Vogel U., Krone M., Petri N.
OBJECTIVES: COVID-19 vaccination is a key prevention strategy to reduce the spread and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections. However, vaccine-related inability to work among healthcare workers (HCWs) could overstrain healthcare systems. STUDY DESIGN: The study presented was conducted as part of the prospective CoVacSer cohort study. METHODS: This study examined sick leave and intake of pro re nata medication after the first, second, and third COVID-19 vaccination in HCWs. Data were collected by using an electronic questionnaire. RESULTS: Among 1704 HCWs enrolled, 595 (34.9%) HCWs were on sick leave following at least one COVID-19 vaccination, leading to a total number of 1550 sick days. Both the absolute sick days and the rate of HCWs on sick leave significantly increased with each subsequent vaccination. Comparing BNT162b2mRNA and mRNA-1273, the difference in sick leave was not significant after the second dose, but mRNA-1273 induced a significantly longer and more frequent sick leave after the third. CONCLUSION: In the light of further COVID-19 infection waves and booster vaccinations, there is a risk of additional staff shortages due to postvaccination inability to work, which could negatively impact the already strained healthcare system and jeopardise patient care. These findings will aid further vaccination campaigns to minimise the impact of staff absences on the healthcare system.