Introduction: Maintaining the health and availability of Health care workers (HCW) is an essential component of pandemic preparedness. A key to protecting HCW during the H1N1 pandemic was influenza vaccination. Numerous researchers have reported on factors influencing H1N1 vaccination behaviour in various HCW groups. This systematic review aims to inform future influenza vaccine interventions and pandemic planning processes via the examination of literature in HCW H1N1 vaccination, in order to identify factors that are (1) unique to pandemic influenza vaccination and (2) similar to seasonal influenza vaccination research.
Methods: We conducted a comprehensive review of literature (MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINHAL, AMED, Cochrane Library, ProQuest, and grey literature sources) published between January 2005 and December 2011 to identify studies relevant to HCW pH1N1 vaccine uptake/refusal.
Results: 20 publications sampling HCW from different geographic regions are included in this review. H1N1 vaccine coverage was found to be variable (9-92%) across HCW populations, and self-reported vaccine status was the most frequently utilized predictor of pandemic vaccination. HCW were likely to accept the H1N1 vaccine if they perceived, (1) the H1N1 vaccine to be safe, (2) H1N1 vaccination to be effective in preventing infection to self and others (i.e. loved ones, co-workers and patients), and (3) H1N1 was a serious and severe infection. Positive cues to action, such as the access of scientific literature, trust in public health communications and messaging, and encouragement from loved ones, physicians and co-workers were also found to influence HCW H1N1 uptake. Previous seasonal influenza vaccination was found to be an important socio-demographic predictor of vaccine uptake. Factors unique to HCW pandemic vaccine behaviour are (1) lack of time and vaccine access related barriers to vaccination, (2) perceptions of novel and rapid pandemic vaccine formulation, and (3) the strong role of mass media on vaccine uptake.
Conclusions: Many of the factors that influenced HCW pandemic vaccination decisions have previously been reported in seasonal influenza vaccination literature, but some factors were unique to pandemic vaccination. Future influenza vaccine campaigns should emphasize the benefits of vaccination and highlight positive cues to vaccination, while addressing barriers to vaccine uptake in order to improve vaccine coverage among HCW populations. Since pandemic vaccination factors tend be similar among different HCW groups, successful pandemic vaccination strategies may be effective across numerous HCW populations in pandemic scenarios.
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