Browsing Applied Health Sciences by Author "Epler, Caroline"
Risk Characteristics of Healthcare Workers that Decline Voluntary Influenza VaccinationEpler, Caroline (2013-02-11)Influenza, also known as the flu, is one of the most common seasonal illnesses with outbreaks occurring each year. Transmission of the influenza virus in a hospital setting is a significant concern, because although most cases of influenza are mild, up to 25% require outpatient medical care, as many as 4% require inpatient care, and 1% require intensive care. One way to prevent influenza is through vaccination of those deemed to be high risk for contracting and spreading the disease, such as healthcare workers. The purpose of this study was to identify personal, demographic and professional characteristics of healthcare workers who decline influenza vaccination in a Southeastern United States teaching hospital. Characteristics examined in this study included gender, ethnicity, number of years employed at the hospital, personnel role and level of patient contact. The method for this research involved the utilization of existing (secondary) data from the 2010-2011 flu vaccination program gained from the employee database of the hospital. A population consisting of 22,845 healthcare workers was observed. Findings included identification of African Americans as the ethnic group with the highest declination rate. Healthcare workers with little patient contact also had high rates of declination. While physicians and nurses had relatively low rates of declination, environmental service workers had a high rate of declination. This study concluded that although specific groups were identified with high rates of declination, further research is needed to determine the reason behind declination amongst these groups and if any relationship can be made with regard to education level or job title that affects declination of the influenza vaccine. Future research is needed to understand why healthcare workers decline vaccination and how to improve vaccination rates in this population.