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Healthcare Workers' Knowledge and Attitudes About Pertussis and Pertussis Vaccination

  • William P. Goins (a1), William Schaffner (a1) (a2), Kathryn M. Edwards (a3) and Thomas R. Talbot (a1) (a2)

To determine knowledge and attitudes about pertussis and pertussis vaccination among healthcare workers (HCWs).


Self-administered, Web-based survey.


Tertiary-care academic medical center.


Medical center employees who participated in direct patient care were recruited to complete the survey through institutional e-mail.


Of 14,893 potentially eligible employees, 1,819 (12%) completed the survey. Most respondents (87%) did not plan to receive the pertussis vaccine. Intent to receive vaccination (which included recent history of vaccination) was associated with the following 4 factors: receipt of a physician recommendation for vaccination (odds ratio [OR], 9.01), awareness of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for pertussis vaccination for HCWs (OR, 6.89), receipt of encouragement to be vaccinated from a coworker (OR, 4.72), the belief that HCWs may spread pertussis to patients and family (OR, 1.80). Two factors were negatively associated with intent to receive vaccination: the presence of children in the HCW's home (OR, 0.69) and employment as a nurse (OR, 0.59). Reasons cited by those who did not intend to receive vaccination included lack of a personal recommendation for vaccination (78%), receipt of vaccination as a child (51%), and perception that there was no significant risk for contracting pertussis (38%).


Of the HCWs surveyed, only 13% intended to receive the pertussis vaccine. A perceived lack of recommendation for vaccination and inaccurate conceptions about pertussis and pertussis vaccination were cited as reasons HCWs did not intend to be vaccinated. Institutional pertussis vaccination campaigns should focus on the risks of healthcare-associated pertussis and new recommendations for pertussis vaccination.

Corresponding author
Vanderbilt University, A-2200 MCN, 1161 21st Avenue North, Nashville, TN, 37232 (
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
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