Population Health

Understanding vaccine hesitancy of nurses

Image of a nurse in protective gearThe University of Washington Population Health Initiative is leading an interdisciplinary research team that is undertaking a mixed methods study to understand changes in immunization rates and key drivers of vaccine hesitancy among nursing staff in the United States.

This study will help the team to produce observations about key drivers of vaccine hesitancy among nurses, and recommendations as to the type and format of interventions (e.g., educational training, public health mandates, workplace incentives, and so forth) that could most effectively combat vaccine hesitancy and build confidence for nursing staff and, in turn, their patients.

This project has three focus areas:

  1. Identify nine representative counties from three states that have had the most significant achievement, least significant achievement and median achievement in COVID-19 vaccination rates and flu vaccination rates in the general populace over the past five years (2016 – 2021).
  2. Compare vaccination rates for nursing staff working at hospitals, clinics and nursing homes (skilled nursing facilities and residential facilities, including assisted living) with that of the local populace.
  3. Identify key drivers of vaccine hesitancy and what programs, policies, or practices have impacted vaccine confidence through a broad survey and focus groups.

We believe the findings of this project will support health care facilities, policy makers and other key stakeholders in understanding key drivers of vaccine hesitancy among nursing staff in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes; which types of interventions most effectively combat hesitancy and build confidence in vaccinations; and, identify if any of those interventions could provide transferrable benefits for general community vaccine confidence.

The UW project team includes faculty, students and staff from the Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Medicine, School of Public Health and Population Health Initiative.

Funding Acknowledgement

This study is funded by a research grant from the Investigator-Initiated Studies Program of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp (MISP Reference Number 100809).