Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic increases healthcare worker (HCW) absenteeism. The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine may provide non-specific protection against respiratory infections through enhancement of trained immunity. We investigated the impact of BCG vaccination on HCW absenteeism during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: HCWs exposed to COVID-19 patients in nine Dutch hospitals were randomized to BCG vaccine or placebo in a 1:1 ratio, and followed for one year using a mobile phone application. The primary endpoint was the self-reported number of days of unplanned absenteeism for any reason. Secondary endpoints included documented COVID-19, acute respiratory symptoms or fever. This was an investigator-funded study, registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03987919). Results: In March/April 2020, 1511 HCWs were enrolled. The median duration of follow-up was 357 person-days (IQR, 351 to 361). Unplanned absenteeism for any reason was observed in 2.8% of planned working days in the BCG group and 2.7% in the placebo group (adjusted relative risk 0.94, 95% credible interval (CI) 0.78 to 1.15). Cumulative incidences of documented COVID-19 were 14.2% in the BCG and 15.2% in the placebo group (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 0.94, 95%CI: 0.72 to 1.24). First episodes of self-reported acute respiratory symptoms or fever occurred in 490 (66.2%) and 443 (60.2%) participants, respectively (aHR: 1.13, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.28). Thirty-one serious adverse events were reported (13 after BCG, 18 after placebo), none considered related to study medication. Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, BCG-vaccination of HCW exposed to COVID-19 patients did not reduce unplanned absenteeism nor documented COVID-19.

Fuente: Clinical Microbiology and Infection
Available online 28 April 2022