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Healthcare Provider Attitudes Toward Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Policies

To assess factors associated with the likelihood that healthcare providers (HCP) will accept seasonal influenza vaccine policy changes, Nova Scotia researchers examined the roles that their knowledge and attitude play in the matter.  

Between September and October 2010, researchers circulated a self-report survey to a sample of HCPs in a pediatric care facility that provides primary and consultative services. The survey was designed to collect information pertaining to the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs HCPs have regarding seasonal influenza vaccinations. The researchers wanted to know what factors were associated with their willingness to accept policy change. The outcome was measured by evaluating the impact that knowledge had on individual attitudes.

In the United States, more than 300 facilities require immunizations in order to maintain employment. In response to this change, vaccine compliance rates have exceeded 99%. Policies that require annual influenza vaccinations as a condition for employment are endorsed by The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). Still, overall HCP vaccination rates remain well below the recommended target of 90%.

Failures to increase vaccination uptake among HCP have pushed jurisdictions in Canada to increase seasonal influenza vaccine uptake through policy changes, which include: mandatory masking programs, declarations, and the consideration of legislative changes.

In 2012, British Columbia became the first jurisdiction in Canada to put into place a province-wide policy that required designated HCPs to either receive a seasonal influenza vaccine or wear a mask. Following the implementation of this policy, immunizations increased from 40% to 74%.

Results from the study were mixed when evaluating the impact that knowledge had on actual willingness to accept vaccine policy changes, suggesting that knowledge was only a significant predictor at the organizational and legislative levels.

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