Influenza vaccination in paediatric nurses: Cross-sectional study of coverage, refusal, and factors in acceptance
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BACKGROUND: Influenza vaccination among health-care workers is poor, and the effectiveness of hospital vaccination programs remains unclear. Little is known about the effectiveness of intensive evidence-based vaccination programs in nursing staff. We determined whether the recommended vaccination rate could be achieved among paediatric nurses during an intensive promotional program for influenza vaccination. We also sought to identify the reasons for which nurses refuse the influenza vaccine and predictors of future vaccination intent. METHODS: We offered influenza vaccination to nursing staff during an influenza season through a multi-component program that included intensive promotional activities. We analysed vaccination data to determine uptake rates. In a cross-sectional survey, self-administered questionnaires were distributed to all nurses with patient contact during that season. The questionnaire evaluated their vaccine use, site of work, absenteeism and physician visits due to respiratory illness, vaccination intent for the subsequent influenza season, and other items. We surveyed vaccinated nurses regarding their program experiences and the frequency and severity of adverse reactions. Unvaccinated nurses were asked their reasons for refusing vaccination. Multiple logistic-regression analysis was conducted to identify variables that predicted the likelihood of future vaccine acceptance. RESULTS: More than 75% (895/1,182) of applicable nurses were vaccinated in the program. The questionnaire response rate was nearly 48% (585/1,230). Vaccination in the program during the current season (odds ratio [OR] 101.99, 95% confidence interval [CI] 52.54-197.98), program convenience (OR 199.19, 95% CI 98.01-404.11), and a physician visit for respiratory illness (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.29-4.61) were found to be independent predictors of intent to receive the vaccine the following season. A lack of perceived personal need was the most common reason for vaccine refusal, given in 30% (77/258) of unvaccinated respondents. CONCLUSIONS: Adequate coverage of nurses is achievable during an intensive voluntary immunisation program against influenza, using best-known practices. Perceived lack of personal benefit is a major deterrent, while program convenience and previous vaccination strongly predict future vaccine acceptance. Our findings support interventions that improve the convenience of hospital immunisation programs for influenza, particularly those that are aimed at nurses and that promote vaccine efficacy and benefits.
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