For some health workers, it takes this to pull the trigger on a flu shot

Persuading more health workers to get a flu vaccination should not only be done through facts and statistics; an approach that connects with people emotionally is needed, research from Kingston University in London found.

The researchers surveyed healthcare workers from six European countries to learn what motivates some to get vaccinated and what makes others reluctant to get their flu shot.

About one-third of nurses, physicians and other health professionals surveyed were hesitant about getting the flu vaccine, the researchers found.

"While this means a majority of workers were motivated to get vaccinated, it's important we listen to and support those who remain undecided," said researcher Vallée-Tourangeau, PhD. "We found older workers were the most likely to get vaccinated and advocate for others to do the same. We also saw that if an employee knew their line manager had been vaccinated, they were more likely to do so themselves."

The research team created a tool to evaluate health workers' feeling toward vaccination in four areas — whether they felt it was important; whether they thought it would make a difference; whether they felt they had a choice to get it; and whether they had the knowledge needed to do it.

If health workers scored highly in all these areas, they were highly likely to get vaccinated and to advocate for others to do so, the study found.

"To ensure the kind of long-term buy-in needed to maintain vaccination rates at an effective level, we need to ensure health workers are not pressured into having the injection," Dr. Tourangeau said. "When there is hesitancy, information doesn't solve the problem. Facts and statistics alone are not sufficient to alleviate worries, it's about connecting emotionally."

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
San Diego reports 1st flu death of season
Oregon hospital restricts visits to new moms, kids during flu season
Why llama antibodies could open the door for a universal flu vaccine

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