Campaigns to increase seasonal influenza vaccination rates amongst health care workers in Canada that include a combination of interventions had the greatest effect on increasing vaccine coverage, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Seasonal influenza immunization rates among health care workers in Canada remain below 50%, yet it is recommended that all health care workers (at least 90%) should be immunized to protect against the flu virus.

Combined education/promotion and improved access to vaccines resulted in higher increases in vaccination rates amongst long-term care home workers. In one hospital campaign in which staff completed a mandatory electronic form to decline vaccination, immunization coverage increased to 55% compared to the previous nine years where rates ranged from 21% to 38%. When unvaccinated personnel were required to wear masks, rates increased to 52% from 33%.

"This review revealed gaps in the literature about the appropriate components to use to increase influenza immunization among health care personnel," writes Dr. Larry Chambers, Elisabeth Bruyére Research Institute, Ottawa, with coauthors.The study, a systematic review of 12 studies, did not look at pandemic influenza programs.

The authors conclude that more studies with multiple campaign components are needed to assess the most appropriate influenza vaccination programs.