319 Self-reported Influenza Vaccination, Illness and Absenteeism Among Canadian Healthcare Workers During the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic

Saturday, April 2, 2011: 3:15 PM
Coronado BCD (Hilton Anatole)
Robyn Mitchell, MHSc , Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
George Astrakianakis, PhD , University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Elizabeth Bryce, MD , Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Robert Gervais, MD , Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Denise Gravel, MSc , Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
B. Lynn Johnston, MD , Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, CANADA
Stephanie Leduc, BSc , Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Virginia Roth, MD, FRCPC , The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Geoffrey Taylor, MD , University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Mary Vearncombe, MD , SunnyBrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON, CANADA
Christine Weir, MSc , Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Background: Influenza vaccination of healthcare workers (HCWs) has an important role in the prevention of nosocomial transmission of influenza and to protect patients at high risk for influenza-related complications and death.

Objective:  The objectives of this survey were to determine pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) and seasonal influenza vaccination coverage; to explore reasons for vaccine declination; and to measure self-reported illness and absenteeism due to influenza-like illness in Canadian HCWs.

Methods: In February 2010 a self-administered survey was distributed to HCWs who had been involved in the direct care of patients on pH1N1 precautions in ten Canadian acute care facilities.

Results: Surveys were returned from 979 HCWs, 80% of respondents were nurses, 14% respiratory therapists, and 6% physicians. Eighty-three per cent of respondents indicated they had received the pH1N1 vaccine. A significantly higher proportion of physicians than nurses reported pH1N1 vaccination (94% vs. 81%; p=0.014).

There were 372 respondents (38%) who reported receipt of the 2009-10 seasonal influenza vaccine. Again, physicians were significantly more likely to report seasonal vaccination than both nurses (59% vs. 37%; p=0.0006) and respiratory therapists (59% vs. 36%; p=0.002). The most common reasons for refusing the seasonal vaccine were concerns over vaccine safety (24%) and preference for natural immunity (35%).

Influenza-like illness was reported by 236 (24%) HCWs. Of these, 170 (72%) reported missing work and the median number of days missed was three (range 0 to 21).

Conclusions: Self-reported vaccine coverage for pH1N1 from this study was considerably higher than coverage reported worldwide. Self-reported seasonal vaccine coverage was low, which may reflect challenges in the acceptance of multiple vaccines during a pandemic season.