Influenza vaccination compliance among health care workers in a German university hospital

Infection. 2009 Jun;37(3):197-202. doi: 10.1007/s15010-008-8200-2. Epub 2008 Dec 10.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospitals, University / standards*
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vaccination / standards
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Influenza Vaccines