Socialization, Indifference, and Convenience: Exploring the Uptake of Influenza Vaccine Among Medical Students and Early Career Doctors

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Abstract

The Chief Medical Officer recommends that all health care workers receive an influenza vaccination annually. High vaccination coverage is believed to be the best protection against the spread of influenza within a hospital, although uptake by health care workers remains low. We conducted semistructured interviews with seven medical students and nine early career doctors, to explore the factors informing their influenza vaccination decision making. Data collection and analysis took place iteratively, until theoretical saturation was achieved, and a thematic analysis was performed. Socialization was important although its effects were attenuated by participants’ previous experiences and a lack of clarity around the risks and benefits of vaccination. Many participants did not have strong intentions regarding vaccination. There was considerable disparity between an individual’s opinion of the vaccine, their intentions, and their vaccination status. The indifference demonstrated here suggests few are strongly opposed to the vaccination—there is potential to increase vaccination coverage.

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