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Revealed: Why Health Providers Avoid Vaccines

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 1, 2010

The MMWR also detailed the great disparity among types of healthcare workers in their compliance with federal vaccination recommendations.

For example, 71.7% of providers in hospitals get seasonal flu vaccine, but only 54% of those in long-term care settings receive innoculation. Doctors, physician assistants, dentists, and nurses get vaccinated at similar rates, but those are much higher than the rates for allied health professionals and non-clinical staff.

About 70% of those working near seriously ill patients such as those in burn or obstetric units get vaccinated, a rate much higher than other healthcare workers (59%).

The better educated the healthcare provider, the more likely they are to get vaccinated against H1N1. "HCP with a bachelor's degree or higher were more likely to be vaccinated for 2009 H1N1 compared with HCP with a high school diploma or less (41.9% versus 27.6%)," the MMWR said.

Okay. I get that there's disparity.

But what reasons motivate these relatively well-educated health professionals—hard workers who work with sick people—not to get vaccinated? When I posted the question to the CDC last week, a spokesman directed me to this monograph issued last summer by the Joint Commission, which reviewed dozens of studies that asked health providers that very question.

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