NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Making influenza vaccination mandatory for health care workers: the views of NSW Health administrators and clinical leaders

Julie Leask, Charles M. Helms, Maria Y. Chow, Spring C. Cooper Robbins, Peter B. McIntyre

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 21(10) 243–247 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/NB10042 Published online: 18 November 2010

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About the author/s

Julie Leask

Charles M. Helms

Maria Y. Chow

Spring C. Cooper Robbins

Peter B. McIntyre

Abstract

The challenges of maintaining high influenza vaccination rates in health care workers have focused worldwide attention on mandatory measures. In 2007, NSW Health issued a policy directive requiring health care workers to be screened/vaccinated for certain infectious diseases. Annual influenza vaccine continued to be recommended but not required. This paper describes the views of NSW Health administrators and clinical leaders about adding influenza vaccination to the requirements. Of 55 staff interviewed, 45 provided a direct response. Of these, 23 supported inclusion, 14 did not and eight were undecided. Analysis of interviews indicated that successfully adding influenza vaccination to the current policy directive would require four major issues to be addressed: (1) providing and communicating a solid evidence base supporting the policy directive; (2) addressing the concerns of staff about the vaccine; (3) ensuring staff understand the need to protect patients; and (4) addressing the logistical challenges of enforcing an annual vaccination.