Sustained improvement in staff influenza vaccination rates without a mandatory policy

Caroline Marshall 1,2, Kathryn Williams 1, Elizabeth Matchett 1, Louise Hobbs 1

The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia

University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia


Introduction: Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers to prevent influenza transmission between staff and patients, yet compliance with these recommendations is often poor. We report a sustained improvement in influenza vaccination (and declination) rates at our hospital over four years without the use of a mandate.

Methods: From 2013, a number of new initiatives were introduced to improve uptake of the vaccine, including strong board and executive support, financial resourcing, employment of a full-time influenza vaccine co-ordinator for six months, running a “Flu Stop Shop” for staff in the public area of the hospital, extensive coverage of all 32 campuses of the health service by travelling immunisers during a range of shifts, introduction of a declaration form for those who had been vaccinated elsewhere or who declined vaccination and real time reporting of results with responsibility given to line managers to follow up staff who were not vaccinated.

Results: Over 7500 staff are employed by Melbourne Health. The vaccination and declination rates respectively were: 2011-47.9% (declination not available), 2012-41.8% (declination not available), 2013-78.6% and 11.6%, 2014-80.2% and 13.9%, 2015-78.8% and 12%, 2016 (to 14/6/16)-80.2% and 12.5%. If the numbers vaccinated and declined are combined, over 90% of staff were engaged throughout the season.

Conclusion: We have demonstrated that a sustained improvement in influenza vaccination rates is possible without using a mandatory policy, although it is cost and resource intensive. Results achieved were greater than those achieved by others where vaccination is mandatory.

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