• Open Access

Attitudes amongst Australian hospital healthcare workers towards seasonal influenza and vaccination

Authors

  • Holly Seale,

    1. School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
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  • Julie Leask,

    1. National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (NCIRS), The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • C. Raina MacIntyre

    1. School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    2. National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (NCIRS), The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Dr Holly Seale, School of Public Health & Community Medicine, Level 2, Samuels Building, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia. E-mail: h.seale@unsw.edu.au

Abstract

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.

Ancillary