Infectious Disease: Poor health care worker vaccination coverage and knowledge of vaccination recommendations in a tertiary Australia hospital
Article first published online: 25 SEP 2007
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 65–68, February 2002
How to Cite
Murray, S. B. and Skull, S.A. (2002), Infectious Disease: Poor health care worker vaccination coverage and knowledge of vaccination recommendations in a tertiary Australia hospital. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 26: 65–68. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842X.2002.tb00273.x
- Issue published online: 25 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 25 SEP 2007
- Revision requested: October 2001, Accepted: December 2001
Objectives: Guidelines for vaccination of health care workers (HCWs) have been available in Victoria since 1998. We estimated knowledge and attitudes towards vaccination among HCWs as well as self-reported vaccination status in a tertiary adult hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in July 2000 using a telephone questionnaire and proportionate random sampling.
Results: Only 18% of 269 HCWs were fully vaccinated. Most (76%) had not heard of or seen current guidelines for HCW vaccination despite a stated belief in the importance of full vaccination (94%) and a willingness to update their vaccination status if necessary (96%). Less than half kept vaccination records (39%). Hepatitis B vaccination (95%) was most commonly completed. However, only half of all HCWs had received influenza vaccination in the past 12 months and other vaccines often had suboptimal coverage. A common reason cited for avoiding vaccination was concern over vaccine side effects (17%). While the hospital staff clinic was an acceptable site for vaccination, improved access was seen as important.
Conclusions: HCW vaccination coverage and knowledge of vaccination requirements were poor. Concerns about vaccine side effects were common.
Implications: Adequately resourced HCW vaccination programs that include ongoing education for HCWs and improved access to vaccination are necessary to improve vaccination coverage and reduce the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases among staff and patients.