Objectives Annual vaccination against influenza (flu) is recommended for all UK National Health Service (NHS) staff to help reduce the risk of contracting the virus and transmitting it to patients. However, despite flu campaigns and vaccination promotion, uptake remains low. The aim of this study was to investigate staff attitudes to flu vaccination to see how this may influence their decision to be vaccinated.
Methods An online survey was sent to staff members across 6 NHS trusts, asking if staff had been vaccinated in the preceding flu season (2013–2014); the survey included questions about beliefs and attitudes to the vaccination, scored on a 5-point Likert scale.
Results 3059 NHS staff members responded to the survey (86% in the 26–59 age group, 77% female and 84% hospital based). 68% of respondents reported being vaccinated in the preceding year. Using a stepwise regression model, the survey response retained as a positive predictor of having been vaccinated was ‘people working in healthcare should have the flu vaccination every year’ (p<0.001), and the responses retained as negative predictors were ‘the flu vaccination will make me unwell’ (p<0.001) and ‘the flu vaccination was too much trouble for me’ (p<0.001). Analysis by staff group showed a significant difference in the response to ‘the flu vaccination will make me unwell’ between groups (p=0.01), with doctors having a greater tendency to disagree with this statement than other staff members.
Conclusions These results suggest that addressing NHS staff beliefs around the need for vaccination, while ensuring that practical barriers to having the vaccination are removed, may help to increase uptake. An emphasis on alleviating the concerns of particular staff groups regarding adverse effects of the vaccine may also be of benefit in improving uptake, to protect patients as well as staff.
- Infection Control
- Viral infection
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