Acceptance of a vaccine against pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus amongst healthcare workers in Beijing, China.Vaccine. 2011 Feb 11; 29(8):1605-10.V
Due to the advent of the new influenza A (H1N1) strain in 2009, many countries introduced mass immunization programs. Healthcare workers (HCWs) were amongst the key groups targeted for the vaccine in these programs. However, experience with the seasonal influenza vaccine has shown that there are multiple barriers related to the attitudes and perceptions of the population which influence uptake. The aim of this study was to determine pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccination rate amongst a group of Chinese HCWs and the associated factors around acceptance. A cross-sectional investigation of HCWs (doctors, nurses and technicians) from 19 hospitals in Beijing, China was conducted in January 2010. The main outcome measures were awareness, risk perception of H1N1, preventive measures and uptake of H1N1 vaccination during the pandemic. A total of 1657 HCWs completed the survey. A quarter of the participants reported receiving the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccine. Occupation (being a doctor), receiving seasonal flu vaccine and believing in the effectiveness of the vaccine were all strongly associated with accepting the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccine. Over a thousand participants (61%, 1008/1657) agreed that they were 'concerned about the side effects of the swine flu vaccine', while 758 (46%) were 'concerned that the vaccine had not been tested adequately'. While studies reported high rates of willingness to receive the vaccine, in reality these did not transpire. Aside from promoting seasonal flu vaccination, authorities need to start educational campaigns much earlier in a pandemic. Programs that are simultaneously launched with the introduction of the vaccine will not be as successful, as those which have built momentum alongside the pandemic.