Improving influenza vaccination coverage at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana with workplace health promotion project
Nataša Dernovšček Hafner & Tanja Udrih Lazar
Abstract: Seasonal influenza vaccination is one of the keys to preventing the spread of this disease. The seasonal influenza vaccination rate is very low for the general Slovenian population (the average rate from the 2015/16 season to the 2019/20 season is 4.3%) and also for healthcare employees (between 2009 and 2019, the average vaccination rate among healthcare workers in Slovenia was 12.9%), and it does not ensure sufficient community protection from the disease. At the beginning of the 2016/17 season, the University Medical Centre Ljubljana (UMCL) launched its first-ever occupational health promotion project with the slogan “I don’t pass on the flu! I get vaccinated to protect myself and others.” The goal of the project was to reach as many employees as possible and increase the general vaccination rate because those working in healthcare have a significantly greater risk of catching influenza than the rest of the working population. By being vaccinated, they protect not only themselves and their families against the disease, but also their patients. The project encouraged all employees to receive the free vaccination, especially those groups that had had lower vaccination rates over the past years. The support of the institution’s executive staff and the heads of individual divisions was key to securing the required funds and suitable conditions for carrying out the project. Different communication tools were used in the project. The promotion strategy increased vaccination coverage at the UMCL from under 10.0% to 13.9% in 2016, 20.9% in 2017, 21.7% in 2018, and 30.1% in 2019. Workplace health promotion can make a difference. The examples of good practice have made a substantial difference and will be taken into account in planning and organizing vaccination activities during future influenza seasons. This practical model can be used in other hospital settings as well.
Keywords: influenza vaccination, healthcare workers, workplace health promotion, motivational factors
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