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THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- The belief that a seasonal flu shot is effective is far more likely to convince health care workers to get vaccinated than reminding them it will help safeguard patients, a new study suggests.
To examine the issue more closely, the investigators reviewed 13 studies that included a total of nearly 85,000 health care workers in North America, Europe and Australia.
Overall, doctors were more willing than nurses to get a flu vaccination, according to the study published March 7 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The researchers identified a number of factors that had the strongest influence on health care workers' decision to get vaccinated. All of these factors were associated with a greater-than-double increase in flu vaccination: knowing the vaccine is effective; a willingness to prevent the spread of the flu virus; a belief that the virus is highly contagious and that prevention is important; having a family that is usually vaccinated; and convenient access to vaccination.
Factors that had little influence on health care workers' motivation to get vaccinated included: willingness to protect either themselves or patients at risk of complications if they caught the flu; previous experience with having the flu; being in contact with children; or having direct patient contact.
"Influenza vaccination will only be successful in [health care workers] if they are properly educated and if the vaccine is easily accessible," researchers led by Dr. Giedre Gefenaite, at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, concluded in a journal news release.
The study authors noted that many differences exist between seasonal flu and pandemic flu, but some of the pro-vaccination factors identified in this study may be important in a pandemic.
-- Robert Preidt
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