Aims Annual seasonal influenza (flu) vaccination is recommended for all healthcare workers (HCW) in the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland. This is to reduce the risk of HCW contracting the flu and onward transmission to their patients. HCW uptake remains less than ideal, despite extensive seasonal influenza campaigns and vaccination promotions. The aim of this study was to investigate the attitudes and uptake to flu vaccination among HCW, and to determine how much these influence their decision to be vaccinated. Methods A survey was sent to HCWs working in three healthcare facilities within HSE North-East following an outbreak of seasonal influenza in a local long-term care facility (LTCF), asking if HCW had been vaccinated for the 2016 to 2017 influenza season; the survey additionally included questions about attitudes and beliefs with respect to vaccination. Results Seventy HSE-employed HCWs in the North-East counties of Ireland responded to survey (93.3% responded to survey; 61.4% were based in long-term care facilties; 80.0% were female; and 35.7% were vaccinated for 2016 to 2017 influenza season). Most respondents reported that HCW flu vaccination was good example for patients (87.1%), while 92.9% acknowledged that it was important in healthcare facilities. The majority of HCW supported annual HCW flu vaccination (68.6%), with 52.9% of respondents reporting that they would be vaccinated for the 2017 to 2018 influenza season. However, only 35.7% agreed with mandatory HCW vaccination. Furthermore, 28.6% of respondents were concerned that flu vaccination was associated with side effects, and 22.9% were not aware that flu vaccination protected their patients. Previous flu vaccination was shown to be the only statistically significant predictor for HCW vaccination (p < 0.001). Discussion These results suggest there is need to address some attitudes and beliefs around HCW vaccination for seasonal influenza, in addition to removing some practical barriers to having vaccination, may help contribute to an improvement in vaccination uptake. It might be useful to focus on specific topics, to create a vaccine promotion culture, like adverse effects of vaccination, and collective benefits for patients in HSE to help improve HCW staff vaccination uptake.
Ir Med J (Irish medical journal)
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