Influenza is a significant disease
that affects the whole population, including both HCW and the patients. This significance
is due to the large morbidity, mortality, and high economic burden the influenza
carries. Owing to the fact that infected HCW can transmit influenza to their
patients, which may increase the risk of complications, influenza vaccination
of HCW is recommended in many countries around the world and more campaigns are
lunched to increase the coverage of vaccination.
The aim of this review is to shed light
on the coverage of vaccination among HCW in different countries, the campaigns
lunched in some countries and their effects on the coverage rate.
Coverage of Vaccination:
In the USA, the CDC conducted an
opt-in internet panel survey of 2438 health care personnel during March 28th
-April 19th, 2017, to estimate the coverage of influenza vaccination
during the 2016-2017 season.78.6% of the survey respondents reported receiving the
vaccination during the 2016-2017 season. The coverage was highest among those
who were required by their employers to be vaccinated (96.7%) and lowest among
those working in the settings were vaccination was not required, promoted, or
offered on site (45.8%).
In Qatar, a cross sectional survey
was conducted in 2015 to estimate the percentage of vaccination among 300
pediatrics healthcare professionals, the study showed that 67.7% of the 230 respondents
received the vaccine and 32.2% did not receive it. The study concluded that
those rates were higher than the previously reported ones.
In another cross-sectional survey
carried out at King Abdullah Medical City Makkah, Saudi Arabia during October 1st-16th,2015,
500 HCW were approached using questionnaire. Of the 447 valid returned questionnaires,
88.3% reported receiving vaccination during the 2014/2015 season, higher than during
the 2013/2014 (61.2%) and the 2012/2013 (54.5%) seasons. The study also stated
that the increase in vaccination rates during the 2014/2015 season was following
the adoption of mandatory vaccination policy.
Another study was done in Malaysia, where
a cross sectional survey was conduced in 3 hospitals in Klang Valley. A total
of 690 questionnaires were distributed to HCW, of the 527 returned questionnaires
51.4% reported receiving the vaccine during the year 2013, with a significant
proportion of them believed they were vaccinated to protect themselves. The study
also stated that most of the employers did not have a vaccination policy and
there was a need for the government to enforce such policies and make annual
vaccination mandatory for HCW.
Different campaigns in different
countries were conducted with the aim to improve the vaccination coverage.
In Qatar, following the low rates of
vaccination coverage among HCW in 2014 which approached 35%, the ministry of
public health lunched a campaign the following year between the 1st
and 15th of November, 2015. The target of the campaign was to
vaccinate 60% of 4700 HCW in 22 primary care corporation centers. Vaccine was
offered free of charge at all centers and information about the importance of
influenza vaccination was provided through direct communication, emails, and
social media. The campaign exceeded its goal and 77%(n=3629) of the target
population were vaccinated. Only 9%(n=453) refused the vaccine and remaining 14%
were either on leave or had already been vaccinated. The uptake of the vaccine significantly
increased during this campaign.
In Madrid, Spain, at Gregorio
Marañon Paediatric Hospital. An 18-question survey regarding influenza vaccination
was distributed to 705 HCW. The survey showed a vaccination percentage of 30%.
An influenza educational program was then implemented in October, 2012 before
the next flu season. The program was not mandatory and involved interactive sessions
that provided information about the virus and infection, the risk of nosocomial
transmission, and the effectiveness of influenza vaccination. In January 2013,
the same surveys were delivered to 687 HCW. There was a significant increase in
the vaccination rates from 30% to 40%. In its summary the study found that a simple
and inexpensive educational program significantly increased the uptake of
vaccination among HCW.