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IDSA: Attitudes Toward Flu Vaccination Vary at Hospital

Physicians more likely to think they are at higher risk for flu, and immunization is safe and effective

MONDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- At a large tertiary children's hospital, attitudes toward influenza immunization and vaccine receipt vary among health care workers, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, held from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in Philadelphia.

Angela L. Myers, M.D., of Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues sent surveys to 946 doctors, nurses, and other employees, and received 574 responses.

Compared to nurses and other employees, the researchers found that physicians were more likely to consider themselves at high risk for influenza infection and believed that vaccination was safe and effective for both adults and children. They also found that almost 75 percent of physicians supported mandatory immunization of health care workers compared to less than 50 percent of nurses and other employees. In addition, there were significant gaps in knowledge regarding vaccination, including some employees likely to mistakenly believe that the vaccine could cause influenza and that the disease was only contagious in symptomatic patients.

"Physicians are more comfortable than others with a mandatory vaccine policy. Universal immunization of health care workers is unlikely without a mandatory policy, but such policies would face significant hurdles, even among health care workers in a children's hospital," the authors write.

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