Evaluating the knowledge, attitudes, and uptake of the influenza vaccine in healthcare professionals: A cross-sectional study from the United Arab Emirates

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Keywords

Influenza, Immunization, Vaccination

Abstract

Background: Influenza, a yearly epidemic, can present with a wide array of symptoms ranging from mild rhinorrhoea and cough to life-threatening superadded bacterial infections. It affects the lives of around 12.5% of the world’s population every year and accounts for almost half a billion deaths. With growing populations, these numbers will follow a similar growth resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Currently, the recommended method to prevent influenza is through the administration of a yearly vaccine that entails the suspected strains of the virus for the year and region. Objective: This study aims to explore the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of the health care professionals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding Influenza vaccination. Methods: A cross-sectional study, utilizing a self-administered questionnaire, was distributed amongst health care professionals in the four largest emirates in the UAE, via convenience sampling. 417 responses were completed and analysed using SPSS-24. Results: 54.1% (n=225) of participants continue going to work while being sick despite 67.6% (n=282) reporting they are aware of the recommendations published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Multiple linear regression showed that age and profession were the only significant predictor of influenza vaccine knowledge. 54.2% (n=226) of the participants reported receiving the vaccine; of those, only 38.9% (n=88) receive it annually. One of the most commonly reported barriers to taking the vaccine was the uncertainty of its effectiveness. Those using a reminder system were 2.044 times more likely to take the vaccine regularly. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the attitudes and practices towards taking the influenza vaccine as recommended are suboptimal. Campaigns targeting health care professionals regarding the influenza vaccine and the CDC recommendations would perhaps positively skew the results in the future.

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