25531 Influenza Vaccination Among U.S. Health Care Personnel, August-November 2010

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Columbia Hall
Carla Black, PhD , Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Background:  The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all health care personnel (HCP) be vaccinated annually for influenza to protect themselves, their patients, and their friends and family from influenza.

Objectives:  To measure influenza vaccination coverage among HCP mid-November of the 2010-11 season.

Methods:  An internet panel survey of 2,010 HCP was conducted November 5-19, 2010.  Respondents were asked about their vaccination status, beliefs about influenza and influenza vaccination, and reasons for getting or not getting vaccinated. Responses were weighted to be representative of the U.S. HCP population.

Results:  Although 76.7% of HCP agreed getting vaccinated for influenza was worth their time and expense, vaccination coverage among HCP was only 55.5% (95% CI: 52.1-58.9) by mid-November. Coverage was significantly higher among HCP working in hospitals (68.3% [CI:63.0-73.5]) and physician offices (59.7% [CI:53.2-66.1]) than those working in long-term care facilities (47.6% [CI:39.2-56.0]). Coverage was highest among physician assistants and nurse practitioners (83.8% [CI:76.7-90.9] and lowest among medical assistants and aides (43.7% [CI:35.9-51.6]).  The most common reason given for being vaccinated was “To protect myself from flu,” reported by 85.2% of vaccinated HCP; 57.7% reported “To protect my family and friends,” and 37.7% selected “To protect patients from getting flu” as a main reason for vaccination. The two most frequently given reasons for not being vaccinated were “I might experience side effects” (33.9%) and “I don’t need it” (24.1%).

Conclusions:  Efforts to educate HCP about the importance of influenza vaccination should be sustained and strengthened throughout the influenza season, even during the winter and spring, especially among HCP occupations with current low coverage and HCP working in long-term care settings, to reach the Healthy People 2020 target of 90% vaccination coverage to minimize morbidity and mortality and maximize our ability to respond to influenza pandemics.