Changing the default to promote influenza vaccination among health care workers

Birthe A. Lehmann*, Gretchen B. Chapman, Frits M. E. Franssen, Gerjo Kok, Robert A. C. Ruiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: The prevention of health care acquired infections is an important objective for patient safety and infection control in all health care settings. Influenza vaccination uptake among health care workers (HCWs) is the most effective method to prevent transmission to patients, but vaccination coverage rates are low among HCWs. Several educational campaigns have been developed to increase the influenza vaccination coverage rates of HCWs, but showed only small effects. The aim of this study was to test an opt-out strategy in promoting uptake among HCWs in a tertiary care center for patients with complex chronic organ failure. Methods: HCWs were randomly assigned to one of two conditions. In the opt-out condition (N = 61), participants received an e-mail with a pre-scheduled appointment for influenza vaccination, which could be changed or canceled. In the opt-in condition (N=61), participants received an e-mail explaining that they had to schedule an appointment if they wanted to get vaccinated. Results: The findings show no statistically detectable effect of condition on being vaccinated against influenza. However, HCWs in the opt-out condition were more likely to have an appointment for influenza vaccination, which in turn increased the probability of getting vaccinated. Conclusion: To change the default to promote influenza vaccination among HCWs might be an easy and cost-effective alternative to the complex vaccination campaigns that have been proposed in recent years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1392
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2016


  • Influenza
  • Vaccination
  • Intervention
  • Health care workers
  • Default


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