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Factors Associated With Emergency Medical Services Providers’ Acceptance of the Seasonal Influenza Vaccine

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2021

Andrew J. Rosenblum*
Affiliation:
The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Christopher M. Wend
Affiliation:
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, USA
Ruthe Huang
Affiliation:
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Scott Spangler
Affiliation:
Southern York County Emergency Medical Services, Pennsylvania, USA
Daniel J. Barnett
Affiliation:
Department of Environmental Health & Engineering, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Matthew J. Levy
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
*
Corresponding author: Andrew Rosenblum, Email: arosenblum@jhu.edu.

Abstract

Objective:

Influenza vaccination remains the most effective primary prevention strategy for seasonal influenza. This research explores the percentage of emergency medical services (EMS) clinicians who received the seasonal flu vaccine in a given year, along with their reasons for vaccine acceptance and potential barriers.

Methods:

A survey was distributed to all EMS clinicians in Virginia during the 2018-2019 influenza season. The primary outcome was vaccination status. Secondary outcomes were attitudes and perceptions toward influenza vaccination, along with patient care behaviors when treating an influenza patient.

Results:

Ultimately, 2796 EMS clinicians throughout Virginia completed the survey sufficiently for analysis. Participants were mean 43.5 y old, 60.7% male, and included the full range of certifications. Overall, 79.4% of surveyed EMS clinicians received a seasonal flu vaccine, 74% had previously had the flu, and 18% subjectively reported previous side effects from the flu vaccine. Overall, 54% of respondents believed their agency has influenza or respiratory specific plans or procedures.

Conclusions:

In a large, state-wide survey of EMS clinicians, overall influenza vaccination coverage was 79.4%. Understanding the underlying beliefs of EMS clinicians remains a critical priority for protecting these frontline clinicians. Agencies should consider practical policies, such as on-duty vaccination, to increase uptake.

Type
Original Research
Copyright
© Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2021

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