Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Effects of Messages Addressing Safety and Adverse Event Concerns about Influenza Vaccination Among Older African-American Adults

Keri Jupka1, Ricardo Wray1, Christina Lapka1, Ratna Pakpahan1, and Trent Buskirk2. (1) Health Communication Research Laboratory, Saint Louis University, 3545 Lafayette Ave, St. Louis, MO, USA, (2) School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, 3545 Lafayette Ave, St. Louis, MO, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to understand the effects of messages developed to address safety and efficacy concerns about influenza vaccination.

Influenza is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the US. Influenza vaccination is an efficacious and cost-effective means of decreasing the morbidity and mortality associated with influenza. Influenza vaccination usage rates remain low, with even lower use among minority groups. Previous studies found fear of adverse reactions and concern the vaccine causes the flu are significant barriers.

The objective of this research was to assess the effects of messages designed to address concerns about safety and efficacy of influenza vaccine on African Americans' knowledge and beliefs about vaccine safety, effectiveness and side effects.

This study is an experimental pre and post-test study with control design. Participants were recruited through community organizations and randomized to receive the standard Vaccine Information Sheet (VIS) or the new Vaccine Safety Messages (VSM) that were developed based on formative research.

Participants (N=107) were equivalent at baseline. Data showed evidence of learning effects of both the VSM and VIS materials. Participants who were exposed to the VSM showed larger knowledge gains in the areas of flu transmission and how the flu shot works as well as greater disagreement with the idea that the flu shot causes the flu. Despite a greater increase in intention to vaccinate among individuals exposed to the VSM (from 16% to 35%) compared to individuals exposed to the VIS (20% to 30%), the between-group difference at follow-up was not statistically significant.

While both sets of materials improved vaccine-related knowledge and beliefs, the VSM materials had better results changing knowledge and beliefs about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.