Influenza and influenza vaccine in family practice: is knowledge sufficient for practice?
Objective: In the risk groups, seasonal influenza not only presents health risk but also causes social and economical impact. Influenza is a vaccine preventable occupational disease for physicians. Therefore, physicians play an important role in transmission of influenza and in influencing their patients to protect themselves against influenza. The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge level and behaviors of physicians towards influenza and influenza vaccination.
Methods: In this cross-sectional analytical study, physicians in two metropolises completed a web based questionnaire designed to determine the demographics, the knowledge level and behaviors of physicians towards influenza. Data were analyzed by 16.0 version of SPSS program. Chi-square and t test were used to determine the statistical significance of the results. Results were accepted as statistically significant if p value was lower than 0.05.
Results: Out of 911 family practitioners included in the study, 45.7% were receiving vaccination regularly. The knowledge level of 75.3% participants was high, 20.6% medium and 4.1% low. Increased knowledge level was correlated with increased vaccination rate. In addition, those who were vaccinated regularly believed more strongly that health care workers should get vaccinated, patients should be informed about influenza and vaccination, encouraged to get vaccinated, and influenza vaccination should be paid for by the insurance companies (p<0.05). Physicians with high knowledge, recommended vaccination to their patients during the influenza season and followed their patients more effectivelly compared to those with less knowledge of influenza (p<0.05). Physicians who did not regularly get vaccinated themselves agreed that vaccination should only be recommended for those in risk groups, or during strong epidemics or only when it was requested by the patients (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Although knowledge level of the physicians is important in prevention of influenza it is not sufficient. Increasing knowledge level with current information is important however, there should be multidirectional trainings targeting to change the attitute and behaviors of the physicians towards influenza vaccination.