Health care worker knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding mandatory influenza vaccination

Lauren E. Douville, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Angela Myers, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Mary Anne Jackson, University of Missouri-Kansas City
John D. Lantos, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Abstract

Objective: To determine the attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge of children's hospital health care workers toward mandatory influenza vaccination. Design: Self-administered, Web-based questionnaire. Setting: A large, tertiary children's hospital. Participants: A random sample of 585 health care workers, including physicians, nurses, and all other hospital employees. Outcome Measure: Attitudes of health care workers toward mandatory policies for annual influenza vaccination of health care workers as related to their opinions on safety, effectiveness, and knowledge about influenza and influenza vaccination. Results: Many employees (70%) thought influenza vaccination should be mandatory for health care workers who did not have a medical contraindication. Nearly everyone, 363 of 391 (94%), who favored mandatory immunization had been immunized themselves. Of those who opposed mandatory immunization, 45 of 81 (55.6%) had been immunized (P<.001). Individuals who supported mandatory policies were more likely to believe that the vaccine is safe for both children and adults. There was no significant difference between the percentages of promandate and antimandate employees who believed influenza was dangerous for the patients where they work (66.5% and 62%, respectively, P=.07). Only 29% of antimandate employees believed they were at high risk of contracting influenza, compared with 51% of promandate employees (P<.001). Conclusions: Approval of mandatory influenza vaccine policies was high; however, attitudes about the dangers of influenza for patients were not associated with acceptance of mandatory vaccination policies for health care workers. Educational efforts targeting health care workers' fears and misconceptions about influenza vaccines might help to decrease the reservoir of unimmunized health care workers. ©2010 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.