Introduction: Vaccination against the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) represents the best method of controlling spread, morbidity and mortality due to the pandemic. While this has been recommended for all healthcare-workers locally, it is unclear if they are willing to accept the vaccination.Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted before and after an educational talk on pandemic influenza and vaccines to ascertain responses and stated reasons, as well as identify associated factors. Results: For 235 returned forms prior to the talk, 182 (77.4%) responded positively, while 161 of 192 (83.8%) who returned forms after the talk responded positively. Importantly, 12 of 47 (25.5%) initially negative responses turned positive after education. The desire to protect family, self and patients were the 3 most important reasons for staff wanting to receive the vaccine, while the concern regarding potential side effects was the most important reason for refusal. Conclusions: A high rate of willingness to receive pandemic influenza vaccine was found, which was in contrast to acceptance rates elsewhere and during previous influenza seasons. Education can play an important role in altering vaccine acceptance behaviour, with an emphasis on addressing concerns with regard to potential side effects.
Since the first positive 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) case was reported in Singapore on 26 May 2009, the country saw an exponential rise in numbers of infected cases despite initial containment followed by mitigation efforts. Local incidence for acute upper respiratory infections (which was a reasonable surrogate for pandemic influenza activity ever since individual case counting was stopped) peaked in early to mid-August 2009 and have since declined; by late September 2009 the pandemic virus accounted for 21% of all influenza-like illnesses in the community.
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