Background: Since 1988, the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) at the Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, has explicitly recommended that health-care workers (HCWs) should be vaccinated against seasonal influenza. However, acceptance of the influenza vaccination by medical personnel is low.
Methods: This study analyzes factors associated with the compliance of HCWs with the seasonal influenza vaccination on the basis of three different anonymized questionnaires during two consecutive influenza seasons: 2006/2007 and 2007/2008. The questionnaires covered details of demographics, frequency of previous vaccinations, reasons for accepting or declining the vaccination, and the HCW's knowledge of the influenza vaccine and influenza itself.
Results: Our study showed that physicians were significantly more likely to have been vaccinated than nurses (38.8% vs 17.4%; p < 0.0001). The main reasons for noncompliance included: supposition of a low risk of infection, fear of side effects, the belief that the influenza vaccine might trigger the influenza virus infection, and scepticism about the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination.
Conclusion: Our findings confirm the importance of a comprehensive approach to the vaccination, ensuring that HCWs are correctly informed about the vaccine and that it is convenient to receive it.