Introduction Pregnant women are at increased risk of developing serious complications secondary to pandemic influenza. Following the outbreak of UK H1N1 Pandemic Influenza 2009, The RCOG issued a statement strongly encouraging all healthcare workers in contact with pregnant women to be vaccinated.1 This is in accordance with advice from the Chief Medical Officer, CDC and WHO. As maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality secondary to influenza have made headline news over the past winter seasons, this study was designed to identify any cultural shifts in healthcare workers' attitudes regarding uptake of influenza vaccination.
Methods An anonymous questionnaire survey was conducted in a large maternity unit in Winter 2009-10 (n=102). An interim survey was conducted in Winter 2010-11 (n=29), and follow up survey conducted in Winter 2011-12 (n=102).
Results In 2009, 41.2% of healthcare workers in contact with pregnant women would accept the H1N1 vaccine. The main reasons given for non acceptance were uncertainty of clinical need and long term side effects. The following winter, uptake increased to 51.7%. Following increased educational drive to improve uptake of influenza vaccination, 64.71% of staff now accept vaccination in order to protect themselves and patients.
Conclusions This study identifies a percentage increase of 57% in uptake of influenza vaccination amongst healthcare workers following improved awareness and promotion by Maternity and Occupational Health Departments over a 2 year period. By altering these demographic, behavioural and organisational determinants, exposure of high risk pregnant women to unvaccinated staff can be minimised, potentially reducing morbidity secondary to influenza.
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