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Perceptions and Influence of a Hospital Influenza Vaccination Policy

Elizabeth L. Daugherty MD MPH, Kathleen A. Speck MPH, Cynthia S. Rand >PhD and Trish M. Perl MD MSc
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Vol. 32, No. 5 (May 2011), pp. 449-455
DOI: 10.1086/659406
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Page Count: 7
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Perceptions and Influence of a Hospital Influenza Vaccination Policy
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Objective. Seasonal influenza is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States each year. Healthcare worker (HCW) influenza vaccination is associated with both decreased absenteeism among employees and improved outcomes among patients. However, HCW influenza vaccine uptake remains suboptimal. The objective of this study was to characterize HCWs’ understanding of and response to a stringent vaccination policy.Design, Setting, and Participants. A survey of 928 hospital staff at a tertiary academic medical center in Baltimore during the 2008–2009 influenza season.Results. Of those surveyed, 75% () completed the survey; 623 respondents reported regular patient contact, and 91% of those reported vaccination in the current influenza season. However, only 60% reported consistently receiving the vaccine every year. Of those who were vaccinated, 8% () reported being vaccinated for the first time during that influenza season. A significant proportion (42%) of respondents were unaware of the major change in hospital policy regarding vaccination. Influences on the decision to be vaccinated varied significantly between those who are regularly vaccinated and those with inconsistent vaccination habits. Attitudes toward hospital policy varied significantly by race and clinical role.Conclusions. Although 91% of respondents with regular patient contact reported being vaccinated for influenza in the 2008–2009 season, only 60% reported consistent annual vaccination. Misinformation regarding hospital policies is widespread. Improvements in vaccination rates will likely require multifaceted, targeted efforts focused on specific influences on less adherent groups. The identified variability in influences on the decision to be vaccinated suggests possible targets for future interventions.

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