Aleksi Hämäläinen, Riitta-Liisa Patovirta, Sakari Vuorinen, Jaana Leppäaho-Lakka, Sanna Kilpinen, Jennifer Sieberns, Eija Ruotsalainen, Irma Koivula, Sari Hämäläinen

COVID-19 vaccination among health care workers in Finland: coverage, perceptions and attitudes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • General Medicine

Aims: In this study, we examined the voluntary COVID-19 vaccine coverage among health care workers (HCWs) working in close patient contact. HCWs’ beliefs about COVID-19 infection, their opinions of vaccination and reasons for having or declining the COVID-19 vaccination were also evaluated. Methods: In October 2021, a cross-sectional observational study was carried out in five hospitals in Central and Eastern Finland. The anonymous and voluntary survey was targeted at 5120 doctors and nurses working in close patient contact. Results: Some 1837 responses were included in the study. Ninety-seven per cent of the respondents had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine and 68% of the respondents agreed that all HCWs working in close patient contact should be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination coverage and support for vaccination were higher among older HCWs and doctors. HCWs’ main reasons for having the COVID vaccine were willingness to protect themselves, their family and their patients from COVID-19. Concerns about adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine was the main reason for declining it. Conclusions: The overall COVID-19 vaccination coverage and support for vaccinations among HCWs working in close patient contact were high without actual mandatory policies being introduced. Prioritising HCWs for COVID-19 vaccinations and widespread vaccine availability, as well as low general vaccine hesitancy and high seasonal influenza vaccination coverage among the study population were check marks in achieving high COVID-19 vaccination coverage rapidly.

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