The impact of the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic on attitudes of healthcare workers toward seasonal influenza vaccination 2010/11
The emergence of the influenza A(H1N1)2009 virus provided a major challenge to health services around the world. However, vaccination rates for the public and for healthcare workers (HCWs) have remained low. We performed a study to review the reasons put forward by HCWs to refuse immunisation with the pandemic vaccine in 2009/10 and characterise attitudes in the influenza season 2010/11 due to the emergence of influenza A(H1N1)2009. A survey among HCWs and medical students in the clinical phase of their studies was conducted, using an anonymous questionnaire, at a German university hospital during an influenza vaccination campaign. 1,366 of 3,900 HCWs (35.0%) were vaccinated in the 2010/11 influenza season. Of the vaccinated HCWs, 1,323 (96.9%) completed the questionnaire in addition to 322 vaccinated medical students. Of the 1,645 vaccinees who completed the questionnaire, 712 had not been vaccinated against the influenza A(H1N1)2009 virus in the 2009/10 season. The main reason put forward was the objection to the AS03 adjuvants (239/712, 33.6%). Of the HCWs and students surveyed, 270 of 1,645 (16.4%) stated that the pandemic had influenced their attitude towards vaccination in general. Many German HCWs remained unconvinced of the safety of the pandemic (adjuvanted) influenza vaccine. For this reason, effective risk communication should focus on educating the public and HCWs about influenza vaccine safety and the benefits of vaccination.