30366 Allied Health Students' Attitudes and Beliefs about Influenza and the Influenza Vaccine

Monday, March 26, 2012
Poster Hall
Tonya Toussaint, RN, BSN, MS , Nursing Supervisor, Maricopa County Department of Public Health

Background:  Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to recommend influenza vaccinations for health care workers, recent data indicate a 63.5% coverage rate among healthcare workers (HCW).  Studies suggest that unvaccinated HCW could be the leading cause of influenza outbreaks in health care settings. 

Objectives:  We surveyed predominantly students and faculty in healthcare-related fields who presented for influenza vaccination at two academic campuses to assess respondents’ attitudes regarding influenza vaccine and prior vaccination history.  Survey results will be used to guide future influenza and influenza vaccine-related educational program planning for allied health students prior to entry into the workforce.

Methods:  Free influenza clinics were held on two academic campuses.  Public health nurses screened each client for vaccine eligibility.  Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) and promotional materials highlighting the importance of health care worker flu vaccination were disseminated prior to vaccination.  A total of 300 clients received influenza vaccine and were  requested to complete an 11-item  survey .

Results:  A total of 247 clients completed surveys, for an 82% response  rate.  Approximately 75% of respondents were students and 11% were faculty.  The majority of students were earning degrees in nursing, respiratory therapy, or medical assistance.  Twenty percent of respondents reported no prior influenza vaccination.  About 6% of  respondents disagreed  with the statements “Influenza vaccine is safe” despite 100% consenting to vaccination.  

Conclusions: One in five Allied health students and faculty seeking influenza vaccination at a free campus clinic had never received a prior influenza vaccination, suggesting that providing free and convenient vaccine might increase HCW compliance with influenza vaccine recommendations.  Surprisingly, 6% of respondents who consented to vaccination  reported concerns about vaccine safety highlighting a need for vaccine safety education.