The Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) recommends that health care providers who contact high-risk patients receive influenza immunization annually. There are few available data on hospital employees' acceptance of these recommendations or their attitudes about influenza immunization. In a hospital where no formal influenza immunization program was in place, a survey of 193 nursing personnel and physicians showed that only 2.1% received the 1986-1987 trivalent influenza vaccine and 3.2% the monovalent A/Taiwan/1/86 vaccine before the 1986-1987 influenza season. An influenza-like illness developed in a total of 35.3% of hospital employees during the influenza season, and 76.6% of them cared for patients while ill. Fear of adverse reactions, avoidance of medications, and the inconvenience of vaccine administration were frequently cited reasons for declining immunization. Hospital employees would be more inclined to receive future influenza immunization if vaccine administration were more accessible and if they were informed that immunization were a national health care policy. During the influenza season, nurses and physicians should be considered a uniformly susceptible reservoir of infection capable of transmitting influenza to patients. Moreover, ACIP guidelines alone probably will not lead to acceptable immunization rates among health care providers; organized institutional efforts to promote immunization of health care providers may be required.