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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