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Abstract

Introduction

Vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for all healthcare workers including physicians in Slovenia to protect vulnerable individuals and reduce transmission of influenza viruses. The aim of our study is to determine the uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination among Slovenian physicians, to identify factors associated with that vaccination and assess their attitudes and beliefs regarding vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was performed among physician members of the Slovenian Medical Chamber. The link to the anonymous web-based questionnaire was sent to 8,297 physicians. We estimated the overall proportion of physicians who vaccinate against influenza, while the possible associations with collected explanatory variables were explored in univariate analyses.

Results

The response rate to the survey was 10.8%. 75.9% (95% CI: 73.1–78.7%) physicians vaccinate themselves against influenza (regularly or occasionally) and 24.1% (95% CI: 21.2–26.8%) do not vaccinate (not any more or never). In univariate analysis only, the area of work was statistically significant when associated with vaccinating against influenza (p=0.002). Among physicians who expressed some misconceptions regarding vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases (it is better to overcome disease naturally as vaccines pose a higher risk than disease) the proportion of vaccinated against influenza was low (43.2%; 95% CI: 27.9–58.4%, 27.3%; 95% CI: 7.1–47.5%).

Conclusion

Not trusting in vaccination or professional recommendations regarding vaccination and some misconceptions regarding vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases may influence the decision to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza among Slovenian physicians.

Some factors affecting the decision on non-mandatory vaccination in an influenza pandemic: comparison of pandemic (H1N1) and seasonal influenza vaccination

Background: The 2009 influenza pandemic caused by the influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus was accompanied by a debate about whether or not to be vaccinated. The percentage of people who decided to be vaccinated was lower than in the case of seasonal influenza vaccination. We therefore compared factors influencing the decision on pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccination.

Method: Slovene inhabitants aged 18 and over (N=1383) completed an internet based survey on socio-demographic and health behaviour-related characteristics, personality traits, and characteristics of decision-making. Two stepwise logistic regression analyses were performed, one with an uptake of the pandemic influenza vaccine and the other with an uptake of the seasonal influenza vaccine as a dependent variable.

Results: In addition to common predictors of a decision in favour of the two vaccinations (age, gender, chronic illnesses, working in healthcare, trust in media news and vaccination side-effects in someone close), deciding in favour of vaccination against the pandemic virus was related to living with children and thoroughness in decision-making. It was also related to being vaccinated against seasonal influenza, trust in pandemic vaccine safety and professional information in favour of vaccination, and the decision of someone close.

Conclusions: In the face of the pandemic threat and lack of information, people behaved as they had in previous similar situations and according to the behaviour of people close to them and information from trusted sources. Concern for children and decision-making characteristics also became important. These factors should be considered in future crisis interventions.