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      Healthcare workers and H1N1 vaccination: Does having a chronic disease make a difference?


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          ► Study the willingness to be vaccinated for H1N1 among Singapore healthcare workers. ► Only 39.4% of respondents were willing to be vaccinated against H1N1. ► Barriers to vaccination were “fear of side effects” and “unsure of effectiveness”. People with chronic conditions were not more likely to accept H1N1 vaccination. ► People wanted to know more about the vaccine's side effects and effectiveness.



          A novel H1N1 vaccine was manufactured in response to the pandemic in 2009. This study describes the willingness to be vaccinated for H1N1 among healthcare workers (HCWs) in primary healthcare clinics with and without chronic medical conditions, their reasons for refusing vaccination and whether they sought additional information to make an informed decision for the vaccination.

          Materials and methods

          An anonymous survey was conducted in November 2009 among all medical, nursing, allied health and operations HCWs in nine primary care clinics in Singapore. Participants were asked if they had any chronic medical conditions associated with influenza-related complications (example: asthma, stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, renal disease), their perception towards vaccination for H1N1 and against seasonal influenza within the preceding 2 years.


          The initial response rate was 80%, of which 711 (54.7%) of the completed surveys were analysed. Among the 711 respondents, 16.6% reported having at least 1 chronic disease. Asthma (10.8%), hypertension (10.4%) and dyslipidaemia (9.8%) were the main chronic conditions. Only 39.4% of respondents were willing to be vaccinated against H1N1. Males were 2.07 (95% CI 1.19–3.62) times more likely than females to receive the H1N1 vaccination; the 45–54 and 55+ years old were 2.12 (95% CI 1.06–4.24) and 2.44 (95% CI 1.13–5.27) times more willing than those below 25 years old; and those who considered accepting the seasonal influenza vaccine were 7.0 times more likely than those who did not (95%CI 4.48–10.92). The 2 principal barriers were “fear of side effects” and “unsure of vaccine's effectiveness”. Although 78% attended some H1N1-related talks, only 7% of all HCWs felt that they had sufficient information. Most wanted more information about the vaccine's safety profile and contraindications.


          Fewer than 40% of HCWs expressed willingness to receive the H1N1 vaccination, lower than past rates of influenza vaccine. HCWs in primary care clinics who had a chronic condition did not perceive themselves to be at higher risk of developing H1N1-related complications and were not more willing than the rest of the HCWs to accept H1N1 vaccination. Vaccine's side effects and effectiveness were the main concerns. Uptake of H1N1 vaccine may improve with targeted health information covering the vaccine's safety profile.

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          Most cited references25

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          Guillain-Barre syndrome following vaccination in the National Influenza Immunization Program, United States, 1976--1977.

          Because of an increase in the number of reports of Guillian-Barre syndrome (GBS) following A/New Jersey influenza vaccination, the National Influenza Immunization Program was suspended December 16, 1976 and nationwide surveillance for GBS was begun. This surveillance uncovered a total of 1098 patients with onset of GBS from October 1, 1976, to January 31, 1977, from all 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. A total of 532 patients had recently received an A/New Jersey influenza vaccination prior to their onset of GBS (vaccinated cases), and 15 patients received a vaccination after their onset of GBS. Five hundred forty-three patients had not been recently vaccinated with A/New Jersey influenza vaccine and the vaccination status for 8 was unknown. Epidemiologic evidence indicated that many cases of GBS were related to vaccination. When compared to the unvaccinated population, the vaccinated population had a significantly elevated attack rate in every adult age group. The estimated attributable risk of vaccine-related GBS in the adult population was just under one case per 100,000 vaccinations. The period of increased risk was concentrated primarily within the 5-week period after vaccination, although it lasted for approximately 9 or 10 weeks.
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            This report updates the 2007 recommendations by CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding the use of influenza vaccine and antiviral agents (CDC. Prevention and control of influenza: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP]. MMWR 2007;56[No. RR-6]). The 2008 recommendations include new and updated information. Principal updates and changes include 1) a new recommendation that annual vaccination be administered to all children aged 5--18 years, beginning in the 2008--09 influenza season, if feasible, but no later than the 2009--10 influenza season; 2) a recommendation that annual vaccination of all children aged 6 months through 4 years (59 months) continue to be a primary focus of vaccination efforts because these children are at higher risk for influenza complications compared with older children; 3) a new recommendation that either trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine or live, attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) be used when vaccinating healthy persons aged 2 through 49 years (the previous recommendation was to administer LAIV to person aged 5--49 years); 4) a recommendation that vaccines containing the 2008--09 trivalent vaccine virus strains A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1)-like, A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like, and B/Florida/4/2006-like antigens be used; and, 5) new information on antiviral resistance among influenza viruses in the United States. Persons for whom vaccination is recommended are listed in boxes 1 and 2. These recommendations also include a summary of safety data for U.S. licensed influenza vaccines. This report and other information are available at CDC's influenza website (http://www.cdc.gov/flu), including any updates or supplements to these recommendations that might be required during the 2008--09 influenza season. Vaccination and health-care providers should be alert to announcements of recommendation updates and should check the CDC influenza website periodically for additional information.
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              Seasonal trends of viral respiratory tract infections in the tropics.

              To evaluate the seasonal trends of viral respiratory tract infections in a tropical environment, a retrospective survey of laboratory virus isolation, serology and immunofluorescence microscopy in two large general hospitals in Singapore between September 1990 and September 1994 was carried out. Respiratory tract viral outbreaks, particularly among infants who required hospitalization, were found to be associated mainly with respiratory syncytial (RSV) infections (72%), influenza (11%) and parainfluenza viruses (11%). Consistent seasonal variations in viral infections were observed only with RSV (March-August) and influenza A virus (peaks in June, December-January). The RSV trends were associated with higher environmental temperature, lower relative humidity and higher maximal day-to-day temperature variation. Although the influenza A outbreaks were not associated with meteorological factors, influenza B isolates were positively associated with rainfall. These data support the existence of seasonal trends of viral respiratory tract infections in the tropics.

                Author and article information

                Elsevier Ltd.
                15 December 2011
                1 February 2012
                15 December 2011
                : 30
                : 6
                : 1064-1070
                [a ]Information Management, Corporate Development, National Healthcare Group, 6 Commonwealth Lane, #04-01/02 GMTI Building, Singapore 149547
                [b ]Clinical Services, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, Singapore
                [c ]Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Tel.: +65 6496 6927; fax: +65 6496 6257. matthias_toh@ 123456nhg.com.sg
                Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                : 20 June 2011
                : 29 November 2011
                : 5 December 2011

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                willingness,seasonal influenza,h1n1 vaccination,healthcare worker,perception,chronic disease


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