Delivering a Healthy WA
Disease WAtch

Insight into influenza vaccine uptake among WA Health staff

Annual influenza vaccination of healthcare workers benefits workers, employers and patients by reducing staff absenteeism and disease transmission within healthcare facilities.

In 2013, a whole-of-WA Health staff influenza vaccination form was introduced that had been formatted to enable digitised scanning into an electronic database. This gave WA Health access to timely information about staff influenza vaccination uptake and enabled it to compare staff influenza vaccine orders with actual use, as a measure of wastage and leakage.

Based on vaccine orders and vaccination forms submitted for data entry, a total of 20,230 influenza vaccines were ordered for staff and 20,906 people received influenza vaccine; 19,784 were WA Health employees and 1,122 were students or volunteers.

The number of WA Health employees eligible for influenza vaccination (based on employee headcount at the mid-point of the influenza vaccination season) was obtained from the Workforce Modelling and Data Branch of Performance Activity and Quality Division.

Overall, vaccination coverage among WA Health employees was 43.5%, varying by region (from 34.2% in the Kimberley to 82.8% in the Pilbara), and by occupational group (from 32.6% in administration/clerical staff to 43.7% in nursing staff) (see tables 1 and 2 below).

Table 1 – Vaccination coverage by health service/region

Health Service/Region

Employees vaccinated

Employee headcount, 13 April 2013

Vaccination coverage (%)

Child and Adolescent Health Services

2,518

4,078

61.7

Goldfields

421

848

50.0

Great Southern

528

1,374

38.4

Kimberley

290

848

34.2

Midwest

759

1,313

57.8

North Metropolitan

4,862

11,915

40.8

Pilbara

672

812

82.8

South Metropolitan

7,821

14,870

52.6

South West

1,080

2,137

50.6

Wheatbelt

688

1,480

46.5

Missing data

145

-

-

Table 2 – Vaccination coverage by occupational group

Occupational Group

Employees vaccinated

Employee headcount, 13 April 2013

Vaccination coverage (%)

Nursing

7,484

17,125

43.7

Medical

2,223

5,107

43.5

Medical support

3,168

8,603

36.8

Administration and clerical

2,902

8,889

32.6

Hotel services

1,933

5,140

37.6

Site services

267

641

41.7

Other/data missing

1,807

-

-

Total

19,784

45,480

43.5

Coverage rates must be interpreted with caution because it is possible that not all staff members who were vaccinated had their vaccination recorded on a form that was sent to the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) for data entry. Also, staff members who work in more than one health service can count in only one health service's vaccination rate. These factors may result in underestimation of vaccination uptake. In health services where staff turnover is high, vaccination uptake may be overestimated because the number of employees who should have been vaccinated during the influenza vaccination season is greater than the number of employees, based on employee headcount at the mid-point of the influenza vaccination season.

CDCD and WA health services are working together to refine data collection methods and improve staff influenza vaccine uptake in future years.

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