268891 Impact of a customized educational program on knowledge and beliefs about influenza and vaccination among working adults

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Cori Ofstead, MSPH , Ofstead & Associates, Inc., Saint Paul, MN
Alexandra Dirlam Langlay, PhD , Ofstead & Associates, Inc., Saint Paul, MN
Natalie Mueller, MPH , Ofstead & Associates, Inc., Saint Paul, MN
Bruce Sherman, MD , Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH
Gregory Poland, MD , Vaccine Research Group, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN
Harry Wetzler, MD, MSPH , Ofstead & Associates, Inc., Saint Paul, MN
Influenza vaccination rates remain low despite aggressive educational campaigns about universal vaccination in response to the novel 2009 H1N1 pandemic. A 63-item survey assessed industrial employees' perceptions and knowledge about influenza and vaccination in May-June 2010. Results were used to enhance educational interventions and increase vaccine uptake. Respondents (N=1,000) reflected the demographics of the population (60% male; mean age 44 years). Only 43% of vaccinated employees reported physician recommendation was a reason for receiving vaccine. Unvaccinated employees believed vaccine could make them ill (61%), is unnecessary for healthy adults (49%), is ineffective (36%), or is not advised by their physician (22%). Most survey respondents understood influenza is more serious than a “bad cold” (87%) and can be transmitted by coughing or sneezing (85%). However, misconceptions were common. Many respondents believed influenza is “stomach flu” (38%), vaccination can cause long-term health problems (39%), or vaccine can transmit influenza (49%). Only 50% knew about recommendations for universal vaccination. Customized educational interventions, designed in collaboration with factory workers, addressed employees' concerns and misconceptions. Information, including colorful images and cartoons, was distributed via flyers, newsletters, posters, a health fair, and factory health coaches. A follow-up survey (N=767) revealed no significant changes in knowledge or beliefs. Even a highly-customized educational campaign was not effective at shifting perceptions about vaccination among workers, given strongly-held beliefs and a lack of physician recommendation for universal vaccination. New strategies, such as repositioning immunization as a community initiative rather than a medical treatment, are needed to increase vaccination rates.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe perceptions and beliefs about influenza and vaccination among industrial employees. 2. Discuss the development of customized educational programs based on survey data. 3. Explain the need for new strategies that reposition vaccination as a community initiative, rather than a medical treatment.

Keywords: Health Education Strategies, Immunizations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of Research for an independent firm that conducts primary and secondary studies to validate healthcare guidelines and treatments. I have been involved in several studies, and I was a co-investigator on the Worksite Influenza Vaccination Study. For this study, I participated in intervention design and oversaw data collection, analysis, and interpretation. My PhD in immunology was completed at the University of Chicago in 2007.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Sanofi Pasteur Vaccination research Employee of research grant recipient

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.