Seasonal influenza vaccination effectiveness and compliance among hospital health care workers

Zaher Atamna, Bibiana Chazan, Orna Nitzan, Raul Colodner, Hila Kfir, Merav Strauss, Naama Schwartz, Arie Markel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Recent studies show that vaccination of health care workers (HCW) might reduce influenza transmission and mortality among hospitalized patients. No studies have compared the incidence of laboratory-proven influenza in vaccinated versus unvaccinated hospital HCW. Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of influenza vaccination among hospital HCW and to examine the attitudes of this population towards influenza vaccination. Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study between 1 January and 30 April 2014 of 1641 HCW at our medical center; 733 were vaccinated and 908 were not. A random sample of 199 subjects was obtained: 97 vaccinated and 102 non-vaccinated. Participating individuals were contacted on a weekly basis during the flu season and were asked to report any respiratory or flu symptoms and, if positive, to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for influenza. Results: In the general HCW population vaccination was more frequent among physicians (298/498, 58%) than among nurses (324/862, 38%) and among males than females. Flu symptoms were reported by 20 of 199 participants, 13 in the non-vaccinated group (12.7%) and 7 in the vaccinated group (7.2%). A positive PCR test for influenza A virus was present in 4 of 20 people tested (20%). All positive cases were from the non-vaccinated group (P = 0.0953). Conclusions: Non-vaccinated HCW showed a higher, although not statistically significant, tendency for contracting laboratoryproven influenza than the vaccinated population. The main reasons for vaccination and non-vaccination were personal beliefs and habits. Education efforts are needed to improve compliance. Larger studies could further clarify this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Israel Medical Association.


  • Health care workers (HCW)
  • Influenza
  • Influenza vaccination
  • Mandatory vaccination
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)


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