243741 Association between annual influenza vaccine acceptance and religious/spiritual beliefs

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Patricia Rohrbeck, MPH , School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX
Kelly Nelson, CPH , School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX
Raquel Y. Qualls-Hampton, PhD , Health Science Center, University of North Texas, Fort Worth, TX
Background: Influenza causes 36,000 deaths and 226,000 hospitalizations annually in the U.S. and despite influenza vaccine being effective in reducing morbidity and mortality, vaccination rates in the U.S. have remained below national goals. One potential explanation is the effect of personal religious and/or spiritual beliefs on healthcare decisions. Previous research identified that religious attitudes of parents led to an increase in exemption requests from annual required immunizations for their school-aged children, yet no existing research has focused on the impact of religious and/or spiritual beliefs on personal vaccination decisions. Additionally, previous studies failed to properly define religiosity and spirituality and did not investigate the role of knowledge or other demographic characteristics on the decision to acquire the annual influenza vaccine. This study assessed if there is an association between annual influenza vaccination utilization and religiosity/spirituality. Methods: This IRB approved research utilized a convenience sampling of individuals 18 years and older. A survey instrument was designed assessing individual influenza vaccine utilization behavior, knowledge and religiosity as well as spirituality. Participants were recruited through the internet and completed the survey online. SAS was used for the descriptive and chi-square analysis. Results: Those who were identified as religious and spiritual were more likely to receive the influenza vaccine than those who were identified as not religious and spiritual. There were no identified statistically significant confounders in the relationship between influenza vaccine usage and religiosity/spirituality beliefs. Conclusions: This research established that religiosity combined with spirituality affect the likelihood of receiving the annual influenza vaccine.

Learning Areas:
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate the impact of individual religious/spiritual believes on the decision to receive the annual influenza vaccine. 2. Assess if personal knowledge of influenza vaccine is a confounder and influences the relationship between individual religious/spiritual believes and willingness to receive the annual influenza vaccine. 3. Compare annual influenza vaccine uptake among individuals who identify themselves as religious, spiritual, religious and spiritual and neither religious nor spiritual.

Keywords: Immunizations, Faith Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a student conducting research under the supervision of a faculty.
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.