Who are 'health care personnel'?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

"Health care personnel refers to all paid and unpaid persons working in health-care settings who have the potential for exposure to patients and/or to infectious materials, including body substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, contaminated environmental surfaces, or contaminated air.

"HCP might include (but are not limited to) physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, technicians, emergency medical service personnel, dental personnel, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, autopsy personnel, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the health-care facility, and persons (e.g., clerical, dietary, house-keeping, laundry, security, maintenance, billing, and volunteers) not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from HCP and patients."

Why do HCWs accept the flu vaccine?

• Desire for self-protection;

• Desire to protect patients;

• Desire to protect family members;

• Previous receipt of influenza vaccine;

• Perceived effectiveness of the vaccine;

• Desire to avoid missing work;

• Peer recommendation;

• Personal physician recommendation;

• Strong worksite recommendation;

• Had influenza previously;

• Belief that receiving the vaccine is a professional responsibility;

• Access to vaccination/coverage;

• Vaccinations provided free of charge; and,

• Belief that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of side effects.

Why do HCWs decline the flu vaccine?

• Fear of contracting influenza/influenza-like illness from the vaccine;

• Fear of vaccine side effects;

• Perceived ineffectiveness of the vaccine;

• Perceived low or no likelihood of developing influenza;

• Fear of needles;

• Insufficient time, inconvenience, or forgetting to get the vaccination;

• Reliance on homeopathic treatments;

• Belief that their own host defenses would prevent influenza;

• Lack of physician recommendation;

• Belief that other preventive measures would minimize or eliminate influenza risk;

• Belief that influenza is not a serious disease;

• Lack of free vaccinations; and,

• Belief that the vaccine is not necessary for individuals younger than 65 years of age.