Background: Influenza vaccination is routinely offered to health care workers in the UK to prevent nosocomial spread to patients and illness among health care workers. Despite its importance uptake has been low in the UK. Aims: To describe the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of health care workers towards influenza vaccination offered as part of occupational health and to understand their relative importance in promoting uptake of influenza vaccine. We also sought to make comparisons with other vaccines more readily accepted as part of occupational health. Methods: An online survey was distributed by e-mail to health care workers in the South Central Strategic Health Authority. The questionnaire included the following: demographic characteristics; vaccination status; and knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards influenza, MMR and hepatitis B vaccination. We used logistic regression to identify the independent predictors of receipt of influenza vaccine. Results: The survey was completed by 998 health care workers representing just over 1% of health care workers in the region. Of those, 69% thought that overall benefits of influenza vaccination were greater than the risks and inconvenience (versus 92% for hepatitis B and 86% for MMR). The following predicted receipt of influenza vaccine: belief that influenza poses a risk to one's own health (OR 3.74; 95% CI 2.45-5.71); belief that influenza vaccine is harmful (OR 0.25; 95% CI 0.16-0.37); and belief that influenza vaccine will protect patients (OR 2.96; 95% CI 1.89-4.62). Conclusions: Staff knowledge, attitudes and beliefs concerning influenza and its vaccine are an important predictor of uptake and should be a target for campaigns to promote uptake.
- Health care workers