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Otago’s flu vaccination programme surveyed

Thursday 22 October 2015 8:25am

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Head of Health and Safety Compliance Andrea McMillan gives a staff member a flu vaccination in April.

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Dr Matloob Husain.

A researcher from Otago’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology is running a short, online survey to discover more about why staff are, or are not, taking up the free flu vaccination provided each year by the University.

The survey, being led by Senior Virology Lecturer Dr Matloob Husain, aims to find out whether Otago staff are aware that they need to get the flu vaccination every year, whether they know the University provides it for free, and what choice they made this year.

More than 2260 staff members rolled up their sleeves for the on-campus vaccination this year, and every year that number climbs.

Dr Husain says while the programme is going well, there is always room to improve it.

“This study gives staff an opportunity to express their opinion about the programme and any changes they would like to see, so, if needed, a more effective campaign can be designed for next and following years.”

The University is among 40 percent of New Zealand businesses that offer free or subsidised flu vaccinations to employees.

"This study gives staff an opportunity to express their opinion about the programme and any changes they would like to see..."

“A workplace initiative like this are very important,” Dr Husain says. “Flu is a highly contagious disease, therefore prevention by vaccination drive through workplace is important as most staff are at work five days a week for eight hours a day and don’t feel motivated enough to go to GP to get the vaccine and there is cost and time involved in it.

“Flu vaccination through workplace is easily accessible, free, and will reduce the risk of flu spread, reduce work absenteeism and improve productivity. I am curious to find out if the study outcomes support these notions.”

As well as using the results to support future University vaccination programmes, Dr Husain hopes to use the results as part of a scientific journal article.