Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices of Occupational Physicians towards influenza vaccination: a cross-sectional study from North-Eastern Italy


healthcare workers
influenza vaccine
occupational physicians


Introduction. The present study aims to characterize personal attitudes and knowledge of a sample of Italian Occupational Physicians (OPh) towards influenza vaccine in healthcare workers (HCWs).

Methods. In total, 92 OPh (42.4% males, 57.6% females, mean age of 47.3±10.4 years, 50 specialists in Occupational Medicine, 42 specialists in Hygiene and Public Health) were asked about their attitudes towards influenza vaccine, their general knowledge of vaccine practice, their propensity towards vaccines. Eventually, their risk perception about the influenza and influenza vaccine was investigated. A regression analysis was then performed in order to better characterise predictive factors for vaccine propensity.

Results.  Influenza was recognized as a vaccination recommended for HCWs in 89/92 of the sampled OPh (96.7%). However, prevalence of misconceptions about vaccines was relatively high, with 26/92 (28.3%) and 24/92 (26.1%) referring vaccinations as eliciting allergic and autoimmune diseases, respectively and identifying lethargic encephalitis (18/92, 19.6%), autism (17/92, 18.5%), diabetes mellitus (15/92, 16.3%) and multiple sclerosis (13/92, 14.1%) as causatively vaccine-related. Vaccine propensity was significantly correlated with general knowledge and risk perception (r=0.492, p <0.001 and r=0.280, p=0.007). Regression analysis, controlled for age, sex, professional qualification, confirmed both factors as predictive towards influenza vaccine propensity.

Discussion. Incomplete knowledge of evidence-based recommendations for influenza vaccinations and resulting low vaccination rates in HCWs may found their roots in the attitudes of OPh, the latter significantly influenced by an unsatisfying knowledge of vaccine pros and cons.


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