Methods: During the recent outbreak of H1N1 in the month of January 2015 in India, four hundred HCWs were handed a close-ended dichotomous questionnaire in a South Indian tertiary care centre of whom 315 replied (85 doctors, 190 nurses and 40 others including pharmacists and lab technicians). This survey was done during Jan 2015 to Feb 2015.
Results: More than 90% (n=283) of the HCWs were aware that influenza could spread from person to person and 60% (n=189) knew that yearly vaccination was necessary
The seasonal influenza vaccine coverage for the year 2014 among respondents was 53% (n=165) while among doctors it was 31.7% (n=27). Among those who were vaccinated 80% (n=135) felt that they were at risk to develop influenza because of their occupation and 85% (n= 143) believed influenza could be serious. Encouragement from colleagues and free vaccine offered by the employer influenced 78% and 60% of those who got vaccinated.
The prime reasons given by those who had not taken the vaccine included doubts on the necessity (85%), concern regarding side effects (80%), doubtful efficacy (65%), cost (45%) inadequate information on the vaccine (42%) and non-availability (14%).
Conclusion: The overall vaccine coverage rates among all cadres of hospital staff were high because of the epidemic in this study when compared to other Indian studies. In spite of awareness, HCW were reluctant to have the flu vaccine. Increasing the coverage among HCWs will have a bearing on the acceptance of Influenza vaccinations by the general public and high risk patients. Allaying fears of the adverse effects of the vaccine and doubts regarding its efficacy to HCW, coupled with offering vaccines at subsidized rates may considerably increase vaccine coverage.
V. Ramasubramanian, None