October 20, 2014
1 min read

Two-thirds of eligible hospital patients refused flu vaccine

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PHILADELPHIA — Nearly two-thirds of eligible hospital patients refused influenza vaccinations, according to data presented at IDWeek 2014.

Researchers from University of Maryland Baltimore examined the electronic medical records of patients aged 18 years or older (n=52,141) who were admitted to a single tertiary referral hospital in Baltimore during five influenza seasons (Oct. 1 to Mar. 31; 2008-2013). Refusal rates, reasons for refusal and identity factors associated with refusal among unvaccinated and eligible patients (n=28,371) were recorded.

Prior to admission, patients self-reported influenza vaccination prior to admission ranged from 39% in 2008-2009 to 48% in 2012-2013. Rate of refusal ranged from 60% in 2009-2010 to 71% in 2012-2013.

The most common reason for refusal was that the patient did not believe they were at risk (50%). A desire for further advice (16%) and a fear of adverse events (13%) were also common responses, with 22% of eligible patients stating other reasons for refusal. These distributions were similar for individual influenza seasons.

Female sex, English as a primary language and currently being employed were associated with higher odds of vaccine refusal, while admission to an ICU and currently smoking were associated with lower odds.

“Influenza vaccination rates prior to admission were similar to those of the general adult US population,” the researchers wrote in the abstract. “During the past five influenza seasons, nearly two-thirds of vaccine-eligible inpatients refused the vaccine. A number of factors were found to be associated with refusal and may help develop focused interventions to decrease influenza vaccine refusal among inpatients.”

For more information:

Masnick M. Abstract 1058. Presented at: IDWeek 2014; Oct. 8-12, 2014; Philadelphia.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.