Many Health Care Workers Skeptical About Swine Flu Jab

More than half of Hong Kong medical workers say they would refuse the offer of vaccination

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- A survey of health care workers in Hong Kong has found that less than half would accept the offer of vaccination against influenza A H1N1 of swine origin, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in BMJ.

Josette S.Y. Chor, Ph.D., of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and colleagues conducted two surveys of 2,255 health care workers, including doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals working in government hospitals. The surveys were conducted when the World Health Organization raised influenza pandemic alert warnings to phase 3 and phase 5, respectively.

During the first survey, only 28.4 percent of respondents said they would accept vaccination, while the figure rose to 47.9 percent in the second survey, the investigators note. Fear of side effects and doubts about efficacy were the main reasons why respondents said they would refuse vaccination, while those who said they would accept it cited following the advice of the health authorities and a desire for protection against the disease as the main reasons, the researchers found.

"A successful vaccination strategy does not just protect the health of health care workers but also can limit the transmission between the health sector and the community, a lesson from the SARS outbreak," the authors write. "With the reported low level of willingness to accept pre-pandemic vaccination in this study, future work on intervention to increase vaccination uptake is warranted."

An author of an accompanying editorial reported a financial relationship with a pharmaceutical company.

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