Because resident physicians (RPs) frequently have direct patient contact, those who are unimmunized against influenza potentially subject patients to unnecessary risk of infection.
To determine the rates of, knowledge regarding, and attitudes toward influenza immunization among RPs. We hypothesized that rates of and knowledge about influenza immunization did not differ between primary care (PC) and non-PC RPs.
A self-administered, anonymous questionnaire distributed to a convenience sample of 300 RPs (150 PC and 150 non-PC). The questionnaire requested influenza immunization status in the 2003-2004 and previous seasons and factors influencing respondents' decisions whether to be immunized. It included a 20-item test of knowledge about influenza immunization.
Two hundred five (68.3%) of 300 distributed questionnaires (196 that were evaluable) were returned. Response rates of PC and non-PC RPs did not differ (P = .79). The overall immunization rate of RPs in 2003-2004 was 38.3% and rates did not differ between PC (38.9%) and non-PC (37.6%) RPs. RPs most often cited “self-protection” as a reason for electing (93.3%) and “lack of time” for declining (47.1%) influenza immunization. Their ability to correctly answer questions about influenza immunization varied; their mean knowledge score was 13.7 (perfect = 20). PC and non-PC trainees did not differ by knowledge score (P = .48). However, RPs “ever vaccinated” had a higher knowledge score than those “never vaccinated” (P = .01).
RPs have low immunization rates and significant gaps in knowledge regarding influenza immunization. These problems should be addressed during their training by education on the importance, effectiveness, and safety of influenza vaccine for them and their patients.
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