Aims and objectives. To identify reasons for poor uptake of influenza vaccine in healthcare workers.
Background. When influenza is circulating in the community, influenza vaccination of healthcare workers may reduce morbidity and sick leave and may also reduce mortality in older hospitalized patients. Despite this, vaccine uptake in healthcare workers remains low.
Design. Cross-sectional survey.
Methods. Self-completed questionnaires were distributed to 144 nurses and healthcare assistants in two Liverpool hospitals.
Results. Vaccination uptake in this sample was 7.6%. The main reasons given for not being vaccinated were: did not think it was needed (29%), not aware of the vaccine (18%) and concerned about side-effects (11%). The main perceived benefits of vaccination were reducing sick leave (44%) and personal protection against influenza (28%).
Conclusion. In this study, many healthcare workers demonstrated a lack of awareness and understanding of the vaccine, especially in relation to its benefits and side-effects.
Relevance to clinical practice. Vaccinating healthcare workers against influenza can reduce staff sickness during times of winter pressure as well as reducing mortality in frail, older hospitalized patients. It is therefore important that hospitals maximize vaccine uptake by increasing awareness and promoting the benefits of influenza vaccine amongst healthcare workers as well as ensuring that all staff have the opportunity to receive the vaccine.