During the H1N1 pandemic, most healthcare workers in Turkey were not willing to take up the vaccine. This qualitative study aims to explore the factors that lead to vaccination resistance among a group of primary healthcare workers in Istanbul. Data were collected through focus group discussions. Thematic content analysis was conducted. All participants considered themselves at risk for infection, yet most of them were not vaccinated. Only persons with a "poor" immune system were considered by the respondents at risk for severe disease and death. Health personnel mostly did not realize their potential role in the transmission of influenza to patients. The decision of vaccination was dependent on the information source. The personnel who depended mainly on the media either did not accept vaccination or was undecided. They believed that the vaccine went through an accelerated authorization procedure. Yet the ones who accepted vaccination relied mostly on evidence-based sources and accessed information from the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, Professional Medical Associations and the World Health Organization. Social networks were also influential factors in the decision-making process. It is important to empower healthcare workers through supporting the skills of acquiring and using evidence-based information. This is particularly important for physicians who also serve as opinion leaders. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.