Australian healthcare personnel acceptance of the seasonal influenza vaccine: a qualitative exploration

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Aim: Australian healthcare personnel (HCP) are a vulnerable, yet essential cohort prioritised for seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV). Despite extensive SIV programs, and other health protective behaviours, high levels of influenza exposure contribute to almost 23% of HCP being infected each season. In that context, understanding determinants that maximise SIV uptake among HCP is an important but under-explored area. Subject and methods: We conducted 14 semi-structured interviews with Australian HCP, primarily those most involved with vaccination procedures, including nurses, midwives, pharmacists, and medical practitioners. The question guide development was based on constructs from the Triandis Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour and an integrative review. All interviews were transcribed verbatim with the application of Braun and Clarke’s reflexive thematic analysis to identify and explore pertinent themes. Results: Six distinct but inter-related themes were associated with HCP seasonal influenza vaccination behaviour. Most significantly, professional responsibility and identity appeared highly associated with positive vaccine intention, followed by vaccination convenience and ease of access. Protection, habit, risk perception, and experience and knowledge were also found to influence HCP decision making around SIV. Vaccination complacency, not hesitancy, was described as impeding the progression of vaccination intention (acceptance) to vaccine behaviours (uptake). Conclusion: Findings suggest interventions that foster professional identity, leverage camaraderie and a ‘duty of care’ to protect others may enhance SIV intention. While improved access to SIV in the workplace could promote positive vaccination behaviour, particularly if triggers or nudges are applied to prompt the vaccination habit in the presence of SIV acceptance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Public Health (Germany)
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2024


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