Background Amongst healthcare workers (HCWs), compliance rates with influenza vaccination are traditionally low. Although a safe and effective vaccine is available, there is little Australian data on reasons for poor compliance, especially amongst allied health and ancillary support staff.
Methods Cross-sectional investigation of a sample of clinical and non-clinical HCWs from two tertiary-referral teaching hospitals in Sydney, Australia was conducted between June 4 and October 19, 2007. The self-administered questionnaire was distributed to hospital personal from 40 different wards and departments. The main outcome measures were personal beliefs about influenza vaccination and self-reported vaccination status.
Results Respondents (n = 1079) were categorized into four main groups by occupation: nurses (47·5%, 512/1079), physicians (26·0%, 281/1079), allied health (15·3%, 165/1079) and ancillary (11·2%, 121/1079). When asked whether they felt the influenza vaccine was safe or effective, 81% (879/1079) and 68% (733/1079), respectively, replied in the affirmative. Participants felt that it was more important to get vaccinated to protect patients (74%, 796/1079) than family (68%, 730/1079) or self-protection (66%, 712/1079). However, only 22% (241/1079) of the HCWs who replied reported receiving the vaccine the year the survey was conducted.
Conclusions Although HCWs had an adequate level of knowledge towards influenza vaccination, only 22% of them were vaccinated. The approach to improving influenza vaccination rates amongst HCWs and to tackling misconceptions must be multifaceted, adaptable and must evolve regularly to increase coverage.