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Healthcare Workers Still Skeptical About Flu Vaccinations

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 19, 2011

Efforts to get more healthcare workers vaccinated are having little success, with results way below the nation's 90% goal, according to a report Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not even two in three, or 63.5% of those surveyed, received influenza vaccines during the 2009-2010 season, up only 1.6% from the prior season.

However, at healthcare facilities where vaccination is mandatory, rates are 98.1%.  Without a provider mandate, compliance at organizations that offer vaccination on site was about 30% lower. Other strategies that helped raise percentages included:
• Onsite vaccination with a personal reminder, 69.9%.
• Vaccination availability at no cost, 67.9%
• Vaccination availability for greater than one day, 68.8%.

The CDC conducted its nationally representative survey through a web-based tool with help from the American Medical Association master file and an online research panel. It said the sample of nearly 2,000 healthcare workers are "not necessarily representative" of all healthcare providers in the country, however it was geographically and demographically weighted and represented all types of providers.

The survey findings indicate that a large portion of workers do not believe vaccination is worth the time and expense, can better protect those around them, could protect themselves from getting influenza, and is a serious threat to their own health.

Of those who refrained from getting immunized, only 66.2% said they believed the vaccines are safe.

"These results indicate that programs to educate healthcare providers regarding the seriousness of influenza and the effectiveness of the vaccine in protecting HCP and their patients from illness should continue," the CDC said in Thursday's issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.