Objectives: To determine influenza vaccination rates and attitudes toward vaccination among emergency department health care workers at 4 Ontario teaching hospitals.
Methods: During the influenza season of 1999-2000 a confidential 28-item survey was distributed to emergency physicians and residents, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other allied health care workers at the emergency departments of 4 London, Ontario teaching hospitals.
Results: Of 426 surveys distributed, 343 were returned, for an overall response rate of 80.5%. The mean age of respondents was 38.5 years (standard deviation = 8.3), 74.3% were female, and 86.6% were non-smokers. The overall vaccination rate was 37.0% (95% confidence interval, 31.9%-42.4%). Vaccination rates were 45.9% for respiratory therapists, 35.3% for emergency physicians and residents, 34.5% for nurses and 27.1% for other allied health care workers (p = 0.083). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that age >or=41 and a chronic medical condition were positively associated with influenza vaccination (p < 0.05). Close to one-third of respondents (28.3%) believed that adverse affects were common, 51.6% believed vaccination was effective, 52% would support a program to improve vaccination rates among emergency department staff, and 24.4% would support mandatory vaccination for this population. Only 26.8% believed that patients were at increased risk of contracting influenza from emergency department staff, but 58.3% perceived that emergency department staff were at increased risk of contracting influenza through exposure to patients.
Conclusions: In this study, only 37% of emergency department health care workers were immunized against influenza, with chronic illness and older age being the only 2 significant correlates. Strategies to improve emergency department health care worker attitudes toward influenza vaccination for themselves and to increase vaccination rates for this population should be developed.