212727 Influenza and Police Officers: Will an at risk community get vaccinated this fall?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sarah F. Duggan Goldstein, MPH , Science, Medicine and Public Health, American Medical Association, Chicago, IL
The emergence the H1N1 pandemic was documented in the media with anticipation and scrutiny. Despite the lack of coverage in the media lately, many in the influenza community, including federal and state government agencies and public health groups are braced for a resurgence of the disease in the fall. This provides a challenge to the public health community; effectively communicate the need for both vaccines, and translate that message into action. In March of 2009 10,000 surveys were sent to Chicago police officers. Police officers are an exceptionally high risk group for transmission and spread of seasonal influenza. Mobile with frequent community contact, they frequent emergency rooms, nursing homes, and detention centers. Despite being a high risk group, 44.5% of respondents reported receiving a seasonal influenza shot. In addition, of those not vaccinated, 31% indicated that they thought the shot caused illness, and 18% believed they did not need the shot. Unfortunately, a majority of those surveyed fell into a recommended vaccination group; 63% live with a child under 18, 24% live with someone over 65, and 19% reported having a chronic health condition. Because first responders will be a high priority group for vaccination this fall, the public health community is faced with the challenge of underscoring the safety of the new H1N1 vaccine and the importance in receiving it, and also communicating the need for the seasonal vaccine. Additional results from the survey and potential solutions to messaging for first responders, such as police officers will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze the reasons first responders do not get the influenza vaccine. 2. Discuss results of 2009 survey of Chicago Police Officers 3. Formulate strategies to increase vaccination rates in populations that will be high priority vaccinees this fall.

Keywords: Immunizations, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an MPH and 10 years of experience in Public Health. I designed this survey and have done all analysis to date. I am the coordinator of this partnership.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.