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Open Access Research article

“I don’t see an added value for myself”: a qualitative study exploring the social cognitive variables associated with influenza vaccination of Belgian, Dutch and German healthcare personnel

Birthe A Lehmann1*, Robert AC Ruiter1, Sabine Wicker2, Dick van Dam3 and Gerjo Kok1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Work & Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

2 Betriebsärztlicher Dienst, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany

3 Microbiology, Orbis Medisch en Zorgconcern, Postbus 5500, 6130 MB Sittard, The Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:407  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-407

Published: 28 April 2014

Abstract

Background

Health Authorities recommend influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel (HCP) to decrease the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. Recent studies have almost exclusively used quantitative questionnaires in order to identify determinants of vaccination behaviour. Interviews enable HCP to express freely why they think they are (not) willing to get vaccinated against influenza.

Methods

By means of semi-structured one-on-one interviews with 123 Belgian, Dutch and German HCP, reasons for and against vaccination, experiences with influenza vaccination, intention to get vaccinated and possible barriers, as well as willingness to advice influenza vaccination to patients were investigated. Data were processed with QSR NVivo 8.0 and analysed using a combination of a deductive and a general inductive approach.

Results

Across countries, self-protection, patient protection, and protection of family members were reported as most important reasons to get vaccinated against influenza. Reasons to not get vaccinated against influenza were fear of side effects caused by the vaccine, a low risk-perception, the disbelief in the effectiveness of influenza vaccination, organizational barriers, misconceptions, and undefined negative emotions.

Conclusions

The social cognitive variables underlying the decision of HCP to get vaccinated against influenza (or not) seem to be similar in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, even though some differences surfaced. A quantitative investigation of those social cognitive variables is needed in order to determine the importance of the social cognitive variables in explaining the intention to get vaccinated and the importance of the similarities and differences between countries that have been found in this study.

Keywords:
Influenza vaccination; Healthcare personnel; Hospital; Qualitative research; Social cognitive determinants