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Keywords:

  • Healthcare workers;
  • influenza;
  • occupational hazard;
  • vaccination

Please cite this paper as: Bali NK et al. (2012) Knowledge, attitude, and practices about the seasonal influenza vaccination among healthcare workers in Srinagar, India. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 7(4), 540–545.

Background  Healthcare workers (HCWs) universally have a poor uptake of influenza vaccination. However, no data are available from India.

Objective  To explore knowledge, attitudes, and practices associated with influenza vaccination in HCWs in a temperate climate area in northern India.

Patients and Methods  A self-administered questionnaire was offered to all HCWs in three major hospitals of Srinagar and information sought on motivations, perceptions, preferences and practices regarding influenza vaccination.

Results  Of the 1750 questionnaires received, 1421 (81%) were returned. Only 62 (4·4%) HCWs had ever received influenza vaccination even as 1348 (95%) believed that influenza poses adverse potential consequences for themselves or their contacts; 1144 (81%) were aware of a vaccine against influenza and 830 (58%) of its local availability. Reasons cited by 1359 participants for not being vaccinated included ignorance about vaccine availability (435; 32%), skepticism about efficacy (248; 18%), busy schedule (166; 12%), fear of side effects (70; 4%), and a perception of not being-at-risk (82; 6%). Sixty-one percent (865) believed that vaccine programs are motivated by profit. Eighty-eight percent opined for mandatory vaccination for HCWs caring for the high-risk patients, as a part of ‘employee health program’. Most of the participants intended to get vaccinated in the current year even as 684 (48%) held that vaccines could cause unknown illness and 444 (31%) believed their adverse effects to be underreported.

Conclusion  Influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs is dismally low in Srinagar; poor knowledge of vaccine availability and misperceptions about vaccine effectiveness, fear of adverse effects and obliviousness to being-at-risk being important barriers. Multifaceted, adaptable measures need to be invoked urgently to increase the coverage.