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Influenza Vaccination Rates in VA SCI Health Care Workers

LaVela SL, Smith B, Weaver FM. Influenza Vaccination Rates in VA SCI Health Care Workers. Paper presented at: American Spinal Injury Association Annual Meeting; 2003 Apr 1; Miami, FL.


OBJECTIVE: Morbidity and mortality due to respiratory complications is a significant problem in the spinal cord injury and disorders (SCIandD) population. One strategy to protect SCIandD patients from preventable complications is to reduce exposure to influenza by vaccinating health care providers. This study examined influenza vaccination among SCI health care staff. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.METHODS: An anonymous survey was mailed to 1556 health care workers employed at 23 VA SCI Centers. Questions asked about influenza vaccination status, motivators for receipt, influences for non-receipt, attitudes about the vaccine and implications for its use, demographic characteristics, and type/setting of position held. Analyses included descriptive statistics and logistic regression. RESULTS: The response rate was 73.3% (n = 1140). Respondents included nurses (56%), therapists/psychosocial workers (29%), and practitioners (12%). Fifty-six percent of the respondents were 26-49 years of age and 70% were female. The self-reported vaccination rate was 51%. There was no significant difference in vaccine receipt by provider type. The most frequent motivators for receipt were protecting oneself (77%) and protecting patients (49%) from getting the flu. The prime reason for non-receipt was concern about side effects (44%). Multivariate logistic regression suggests that factors such as age over 50, being male, having strong beliefs in flu vaccine effectiveness or importance, and having recommended the vaccine to co-workers significantly increased the probability of vaccination receipt. CONCLUSIONS: Health care workers that contract respiratory infections could expose SCIandD patients to infectious agents. Strategies to improve vaccination rates among this population should address younger staff, female staff, and concerns about side effects.

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