Active immunization is an important concern for health care workers (HCWs) susceptible subjects and potential sources of infection for patients. However, the vaccine coverage for vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) is below recommended standards. The aims of the study were to estimate the hospitals' HCWs' susceptibility and vaccination coverage rates for VPDs and to analyze the role of HCWs' attitudes and knowledge as determinants of the immunization practices. A cross-sectional study enrolled 334 HCWs (physicians, nurses, others) at local hospital in L'Aquila (Italy). By means of an anonymous questionnaire, self-report data about history of disease and active vaccination for seasonal influenza, chickenpox, measles-mumps-rubella and hepatitis B were collected, as well as attitudes and knowledge about vaccination in HCWs. The employees showed high levels of susceptibility and insufficient vaccination coverage rates, particularly for influenza. Specific trends were detected for different VPDs across age strata and professional categories, not always consistent with literature. Overall, the level of knowledge about recommended vaccination for HCWs was low, in all categories. The active immunization status against influenza was found the most clearly associated with difference levels in 3 psychometric variables: personal responsibility, beliefs on usefulness and beliefs on risk of vaccination. A mediation mechanism was analyzed between these constructs, and an interesting indirect effect was highlighted for beliefs that could enhance the advantage of increased responsibility for HCWs. Further effort in research is needed to evaluate the black-box of longitudinal intervention studies (education, environmental changes, policies), to improve HCWs immunization.
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