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Title: Influenza vaccination survey in Maltese healthcare workers in the COVID-19 era
Authors: Grech, Victor
Gauci, Charmaine
Agius, Stephen
Attard Montalto, Simon
Keywords: Coronavirus infections -- Malta
COVID-19 (Disease) -- Malta
Influenza -- Vaccination -- Malta
Community health aides -- Malta
Health surveys -- Malta
Issue Date: 2020-08
Publisher: University of Malta. Medical School
Citation: Grech, V., Gauci, C., Agius, S., & Attard Montalto, S. (2020). Influenza vaccination survey in Maltese healthcare workers in the COVID-19 era. Malta Medical School Gazette, 4(1), 17-24.
Abstract: Introduction: Seasonal influenza globally infects 5%-15% annually, with a total of 3-5 million cases of severe illness and ≤500,000 deaths. Hospital-acquired influenza has a particularly high mortality, and healthcare workers are frequently the source of these infections. This study was carried out to ascertain last year’s influenza vaccination uptake in Malta’s government sector healthcare workers, and estimate the likely vaccine uptake rate in the coming winter season when COVID-19 is expected to be prevalent. --- Methods: A short, anonymous questionnaire was sent via the sector’s standard email services (open 30/06-17/072020). --- Results: There were a total of 735 (7.6%) responses from a total workforce of 9,681. The proportion of Maltese healthcare workers who did not take the vaccine last year but who are likely to take the vaccine this winter halved from 41% to 21%. Doctors had the highest baseline uptake (23% refused vaccination in 2019) and the highest likely uptake next winter (6% likely to refuse vaccination in 2020). Analysis by age showed a likely increase in vaccine uptake with increasing age across almost all age brackets. --- Discussion: Influenza vaccination is advantageous and incurs a trivial burden. Clinicians, legislators and ethicists are increasingly aware of this aspect of healthcare, and increasingly mandate compulsory seasonal influenza vaccination for healthcare workers, where vaccine refusal can be taken to equate to maleficent practice. Education with regard to the low risk of side effects may increase voluntary uptake. Institutions are also responsible for ensuring employee vaccination, and this is even more the case for next winter in the setting of the potential co-circulation of novel COVID-19 with influenza.
Appears in Collections:MMSG, Volume 4, Issue 1
MMSG, Volume 4, Issue 1
Scholarly Works - FacM&SPae
Scholarly Works - FacM&SPH

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