Vaccine 2018 03 28() pii S0264-410X(18)30205-6
Annual vaccination is the most effective way to prevent and control the health and economic burden caused by seasonal influenza. Healthcare workers (HCWs) play a crucial role in vaccine acceptance and advocacy for their patients. This study explored the drivers of HCWs’ vaccine acceptance and advocacy in six European countries.
Healthcare workers (mainly general practitioners, specialist physicians, and nurses) voluntarily completed a questionnaire in Bulgaria (N = 485), Czech Republic (N = 518), Kosovo (N = 466), Poland (N = 772), Romania (N = 155), and the United Kingdom (N = 80). Twelve-item scales were used to analyse sentiment clusters for influenza vaccination acceptance and engagement with vaccination advocacy. Past vaccination behaviour and patient recommendation were also evaluated. All data were included in a single analysis.
For vaccination acceptance, the main cluster (engaged sentiment: 68%) showed strong positive attitudes for influenza vaccination. A second cluster (hesitant sentiment: 32%) showed more neutral attitudes. Cluster membership was predicted by country of origin and age. The odds ratio for past vaccination in the engaged cluster was 39.6 (95% CI 12.21-128.56) although this varied between countries. For vaccination advocacy, the main cluster (confident sentiment: 73%) showed strong positive attitudes towards advocacy; a second cluster (diffident sentiment: 27%) showed neutral attitudes. Cluster membership was predicted by country of origin, age and profession, with specialist physicians being the least likely to belong to the confident sentiment cluster. HCWs characterised by confident advocacy sentiments were also more likely recommend flu vaccination. Again, this association was moderated by country of origin.
These data show that there is room to improve both vaccination acceptance and advocacy rates in European HCWs, which would be expected to lead to higher rates of HCW vaccination. Benefits that could be expected from such an outcome are improved advocacy and better control of morbidity and mortality related to seasonal influenza infection.