2042. Influenza Vaccination
Rates in VA SCI Health Care Workers
SL LaVela, Midwest Center for Health Services and Policy Research (MCHSPR), Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL, B Smith, MCHSPR, FM Weaver, MCHSPR, M Legro, Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Strategic Healthcare Group, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, B Goldstein, Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Strategic Healthcare Group, VA Puget Sound Health Care System
Objectives: Morbidity and
mortality due to respiratory complications is a significant problem in the
spinal cord injury and disorders (SCI&D) population. One strategy to protect
SCI&D patients from preventable complications is to reduce exposure to
influenza by vaccinating health care providers. This study examined the receipt of influenza vaccination
among health care staff working in VA SCI Centers.
Methods: An anonymous
survey was mailed to 1556 health care workers employed at 23 VA SCI Centers.
Questions inquired about influenza vaccination status, motivators for receipt,
influences for non-receipt, attitudes about the vaccine and implications for its
use. Questions regarding staff
demographic characteristics in addition to type and setting of position held
were also asked. Analyses
included descriptive statistics and logistic regression.
Results: The overall
response rate was 73.3% (n=1140). Respondents
included nurses (56%), therapists/psychosocial workers (29%), and practitioners
(12%). Over half of the respondents were 26-49 years of age (56%) and 70% were
female. The self-reported
vaccination rate for the 2001/2002 immunization season was 51%. There was no
significant difference in vaccine receipt by provider type. The most frequent
motivators for receipt were to protect oneself from getting the flu (77%) and to
protect patients from getting the flu (49%). The most common reason for not
receiving the vaccine was concern about side effects (44%). Preliminary results
using a multivariate logistic regression model suggest that individual
characteristics such as being over 50 years of age, being male, having strong
beliefs in flu vaccine effectiveness or importance, and having recommended the
vaccine to co-workers significantly increased the probability of vaccination
Conclusions: Health care
workers that contract respiratory infections have the potential to expose
SCI&D patients to infectious agents and therefore, are an important group to
target for vaccination. Strategies
to improve vaccination rates in this population should address younger staff,
female staff, and should address concerns about side effects.
Impact: Although health care providers are aware of the implications of receiving vaccinations for influenza, additional focused educational efforts are warranted to improve annual vaccination rates and decrease exposure of high-risk patients.