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'Over half' of London midwives not given flu jab

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The seasonal flu jab has been given to fewer than half of all midwives in London, according to new research.

A study presented at the Health Protection Agency’s (HPA) annual conference, Health Protection 2012, at the University of Warwick showed that 43% of 266 midwives chose to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine.

Although the rate is higher than among healthcare workers overall in London, the study’s authors said uptake of the flu jab among midwives could be improved.

Doubts about the necessity of receiving the vaccine was the most common reason given by midwives for declining it, with just over a third (34%) who turned it down citing that as the key factor.

The other main reasons given were vaccine safety (25%), vaccine effectiveness (10%) and unsatisfactory arrangements in the workplace for midwives to be vaccinated (11%).

Dr Sarah Anderson, study co-author and an epidemiologist for the HPA in London, said: “We asked midwives what they felt would boost their own uptake of the flu vaccine and suggestions included better access to evidence on the benefits of vaccination, its effectiveness and safety, and improved arrangements for having the vaccine at work.”

HPA consultant and lead study author Dr David Ishola added that midwives should be given access to clear information “with transparent guidelines, evidence and direction, in addition to adequate training”.

The scientists carried out their research between June and August last year.

While the uptake of the vaccine was 43% among the midwives, the figure given for healthcare workers in general acros

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