Influenza vaccination of health care workers is recommended for their own protection and that of their patients. There is serendipitous protection for their contacts outside of work. Influenza vaccination uptake has been historically poor. A questionnaire study of healthcare staff at a tertiary referral hospital was carried out to evaluate knowledge of and attitudes to influenza and its vaccine. There was a 36% response rate to the questionnaire, but with reasonably proportionate representation of the various occupational groups. The mean acceptance of vaccine in respondents was 30%; however the vaccination rate for the hospital in 2003 was 16.2% indicating that non-vaccinees were under represented in the study sample.. Vaccine uptake increased with age. Occupationally, doctors, clerical and catering/household staff had higher than mean reported uptake of vaccine. Nurse respondents reported vaccine uptake of 22%. The role of these factors is examined in determining vaccine acceptance. A strong belief in the effectiveness of influenza vaccine was shown to be the strongest predictor of vaccine uptake with 66% of this group taking vaccine. A maximum score in an 8-question knowledge test was only associated with a 51% vaccine uptake. Implications for campaigns to improve uptake are discussed.
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