Open Access Research article

Educating on professional habits: attitudes of medical students towards diverse strategies for promoting influenza vaccination and factors associated with the intention to get vaccinated

Guillermo Mena12*, Anna Llupià12, Alberto L García-Basteiro2, Victor-Guillermo Sequera12, Marta Aldea12, José María Bayas12 and Antoni Trilla12

Author Affiliations

1 Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology Unit, Hospital Clinic, c/Rosselló 138, Baixos, Barcelona 08036, Spain

2 Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB, Hospital Clínic-Universitat de Barcelona), c/Rosselló 132, Barcelona 08036, Spain

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:99  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-99

Published: 18 July 2013



Influenza vaccination coverage in medical students is usually low. Unlike health care workers, there is little information on the attitudes to and predictors of vaccination among medical students, and their attitudes towards institutional strategies for improving rates are unknown.


This cross-sectional study evaluated the effect of three influenza vaccination promotional strategies (Web page, video and tri-fold brochure) on medical students’ intention to get vaccinated and associated factors. A total of 538 medical students were asked to answer an anonymous questionnaire assessing the intention to get vaccinated after exposure to any of the promotional strategies. Sociodemographic data collected included: sex, age, university year, influenza risk group and cohabiting with member of a risk group.


Four hundred twenty-one students answered the questionnaire, of whom 312 (74.1%) were female, 113 (26.8%) had done clinical rotations, and 111 (26.6%) reported intention to get the flu shot. Logistic regression showed the web group had a greater intention to get vaccinated than the reference group (OR: 2.42 95% CI: 1.16-5.03). Having done clinical rotations (OR: 2.55 95% CI: 1.36-4.38) and having received the shot in previous flu seasons (OR: 13.69 95% CI: 7.86-23.96) were independently associated with the intention to get vaccinated.


Given that previous vaccination is a factor associated with the intention to get vaccinated, education on vaccination of health care workers should begin while they are students, thereby potentiating the habit. In addition, the intention to get vaccinated was greater during the clinical phase of the university career, suggesting this is a good time to introduce promotion strategies. Online promotional campaigns, such as a thematic Web to promote vaccination of health workers, could improve the intention to get vaccinated.

Medical students; Vaccination; Influenza; Web 2.0; Strategies