Objectives: Notwithstanding decades of efforts to increase the uptake of seasonal influenza (flu) vaccination among European healthcare workers (HCWs), the immunisation rates are still unsatisfactory.
In order to understand the reasons for the low adherence to flu vaccination, a study was carried out among HCWs of two healthcare organisations in Liguria, a region in northwest Italy.
Methods: A cross-sectional study based on anonymous self-administered web questionnaires was carried out between October 2013 and February 2014. Through univariate and multivariate regression analysis, the study investigated the association between demographic and professional characteristics, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes of the study participants and (i) the seasonal flu vaccination uptake in the 2013/2014 season and (ii) the self-reported number of flu vaccination uptakes in the six consecutive seasons from 2008/2009 to 2013/2014.
Results: A total of 830 HCWs completed the survey. Factors statistically associated with flu vaccination uptake in the 2013/2014 season were: being a medical doctor and agreeing with the statements ‘flu vaccine is safe’, ‘HCWs have a higher risk of getting flu’ and ‘HCWs should receive flu vaccination every year’. A barrier to vaccination was the belief that pharmaceutical companies influence decisions about vaccination strategies. Discussion: All the above-mentioned factors, except the last one, were (significantly) associated with the number of flu vaccination uptakes self-reported by the respondents between season 2008/2009 and season 2013/2014. Other significantly associated factors appeared to be level of education, being affected by at least one chronic disease, and agreeing with mandatory flu vaccination in healthcare settings.
Conclusions: This survey allows us to better understand the determinants of adherence to vaccination as a fundamental preventive strategy against flu among Italian HCWs. These findings should be used to improve and customise any future promotion campaigns to overcome identified barriers to immunisation.