Influenza vaccination rates for health care and care for the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic

In a recent study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers evaluated the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on influenza vaccination.

Study: Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Increasing Adoption of Influenza Vaccination by Health Care and Elderly Workers. Image credit: Emmy1622 / Shutterstock

The target rate for influenza vaccination to be received by health professionals was 75% in 2014, which increased to 92% in 2021. In addition, the staff of residential care services for the elderly (RACS ) was required to be vaccinated against the flu from May. 2020 across Australia.

Historically, Victoria has had a large adoption of the flu vaccine among health care workers (83-88%), and the results show that this initially increased when the pandemic hit. “

About the study

In the present study, researchers reported vaccination rates by calendar year during the COVID-19 pandemic incident in 2020 and 2021, and compared these vaccination rates with those of 2018 and 2019.

The team obtained information related to the vaccination of RAC health personnel and health facilities at the Victoria Health Care Associated Infection Surveillance Coordination Center (VICNISS). The researchers evaluated unidentifiable aggregate data to improve the quality and consistency of the information collected.


The results of the study showed that the rate of flu vaccination in acute health centers was 83.2% in 2018, 93.0% in 2020 and 77.4% in 2021. In addition , the rate of influenza vaccination in RACs was 86.9% in 2018, 98.9% and 2020. 88.1% in 2021. In particular, the number of staff members who rejected the vaccine Influenza was higher in 2021 than in 2020, but was significantly lower in 2018 or 2019. In addition, the number of staff members at an acute care center who had an undeclared vaccination status was 4.1% in 2020 and 18.3% in 2021.


Previous findings suggest that the reduction in influenza vaccination rates among health and care workers in 2021 was the result of a greater focus on measures to mitigate the risk of VOCID- 19, including activities such as the COVID-19 vaccination program, influenza vaccination programs for affected personnel, such as vaccination outside of work and work hours, and promotions and reminders of vaccinations against the flu. The results also suggest that the lower prevalence of influenza in 2020 and 2021 could have led to complacency with vaccination.

Attention to COVID-19’s risk mitigation activities, including the COVID-19 vaccination program, is likely to have affected the activities of the hospital influenza vaccination program and hospital care. the elderly, “said Dr. Lim.

Researchers believe that compulsory vaccination policies must take into account basic ethical principles, such as vaccine efficacy, overall charity, autonomy of personal choice, equal accessibility of the vaccine, and transparency of vaccination. vaccination program. In addition, the study concludes that proper planning and delivery of support are essential to achieving high rates of flu vaccine reception by health care workers.

The high adoption of influenza vaccination in staff working in hospitals and care centers for the elderly is an effective way to protect vulnerable hospital patients and caregivers for the elderly, as well as health personnel, viral infection “.

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