267525 Worksite strategies for increasing influenza vaccination rates among industrial employees and dependents

Monday, October 29, 2012

Harry Wetzler, MD, MSPH , Ofstead & Associates, Inc., Saint Paul, MN
Alexandra Dirlam Langlay, PhD , Ofstead & Associates, Inc., Saint Paul, MN
Natalie Mueller, MPH , Ofstead & Associates, Inc., Saint Paul, MN
Bruce Sherman, MD , Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH
Gregory Poland, MD , Vaccine Research Group, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN
Cori Ofstead, MSPH , Ofstead & Associates, Inc., Saint Paul, MN
Despite the recommendation for universal influenza vaccination, only 35% of adults were vaccinated in 2010-2011. This program aimed to increase vaccination rates among industrial employees and dependents by customizing educational approaches and expanding worksite access to free vaccine in a setting where approximately 30% of employees were vaccinated. This prospective multisite study utilized a survey to assess employees' experience, knowledge, and beliefs about influenza and vaccination. Results were used to reduce barriers to vaccination and address employees' concerns and misconceptions. The impact of the worksite campaign was evaluated using a follow-up survey, administrative records, and claims data. Participating factories employed a total of 6,511 insured workers (mean age 45 years; 65% male), and 1,000 completed the baseline survey. Influenza-like illness (ILI) frequently occurred (44%), and 31% reported ILI-related absenteeism. Economic factors were more common reasons for receiving vaccine (84% access to free vaccine; 82% preventing lost work; 80% vaccine convenience) than health concerns (62%) or physician recommendations (43%). Concerns and misconceptions about vaccination were common. The educational program did not assuage these concerns or increase knowledge levels. Employee vaccination rates increased significantly at an intervention site that provided convenient vaccine access for both employees and dependents (37% baseline; 51% follow-up). When employees were vaccinated, family members were more than twice as likely to be vaccinated. Convenient access to free vaccine remained the most important driver of vaccination. To reduce the impact of influenza on the workforce, employers should focus on providing convenient access to free vaccine for employees and dependents.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the impact of influenza on employee health and absenteeism. 2. Identify factors influencing decision-making by employees about influenza vaccination. 3. Discuss the effectiveness of worksite programs intended to increase vaccination rates.

Keywords: Occupational Health Programs, Immunizations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a co-investigator on the multisite "Worksite Influenza Vaccination Study," and I oversaw the development of data collection instruments and data analysis. As a board-certified occupational health physician, I have been involved in public health initiatives and outcomes assessment for over 30 years. My work has been presented nationally and published in peer-reviewed journals.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Sanofi Pasteur Vaccination research Medical Director for research grant recipient

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.