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Open Access Research article

Influenza vaccination among healthcare workers in a multidisciplinary University hospital in Italy

Susanna Esposito1, Samantha Bosis1, Claudio Pelucchi2, Elena Tremolati1, Caterina Sabatini1, Margherita Semino1, Paola Marchisio1, Francesco della Croce3 and Nicola Principi1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Pediatrics, University of Milan, IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena, Milan, Italy

2 Department of Epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan, Italy

3 Health Management Unit, Fondazione IRCCS "Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena", Milan, Italy

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:422  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-422

Published: 23 December 2008

Abstract

Background

Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers (HCWs) in order to reduce the morbidity associated with influenza in healthcare settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current vaccination status of the HCWs in one of Italy's largest multidisciplinary University Hospitals.

Methods

Between February 1 and March 31, 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional study of influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs at the University Hospital Fondazione IRCCS "Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena", Milan, Italy. After receiving a brief description of the aim of the study, 2,143 (95%: 1,064 physicians; 855 nurses; 224 paramedics) of 2,240 HCWs self-completed an anonymous questionnaire.

Results

Influenza vaccination coverage was very low in all specialties, varying from 17.6% in the Emergency Department to 24.3% in the Surgery Department, and knowledge of influenza epidemiology and prevention was poor. The factors positively associated with being vaccinated were an age of ≥ 45 years, considering influenza a potentially severe disease, and being aware of the high-risk categories for which influenza vaccination is strongly recommended; those that negatively associated with being vaccinated were being female, working in the Medicine Department, and being a nurse or paramedic.

Conclusion

Despite strong recommendations, influenza vaccination coverage seemed to be very low among HCWs of all specialties, with differences between areas and types of employment. Specific continuous educational and vaccination programs for different targets should be urgently organized to reduce morbidity and mortality in high-risk patients, contain nosocomial outbreaks, and ensure an appropriate socioeconomic impact.