Background: In June 2009, the World Health Organization raised the H1N1 influenza pandemic alert to Phase 6. School aged children have a greater risk of developing H1N1 disease than with seasonal influenza. Teachers play an essential role in the school community, and H1N1 vaccination of teachers is critical to protect not only themselves but also adolescents they come in contact with in the classroom through herd immunity.
Objectives: To assess the relationship between attitudes toward H1N1 vaccination and vaccine acceptance among middle- and high-school teachers in rural Georgia.
Methods: Participants were recruited from two counties participating in a school-based influenza vaccination intervention in rural Georgia (N=102). Data were collected from surveys distributed to middle- and high-school teachers in participating counties prior to implementing the interventions to increase vaccination against seasonal influenza. Survey items were guided by the Health Belief Model and Integrated Behavioral Model. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association between teachers’ attitudes toward H1N1 vaccination and H1N1 vaccine acceptance, controlling for demographic variables.
Results: Among participants, 52.9% indicated that they would get the H1N1 vaccine, while 47.1% would not. In multivariate analyses, H1N1 vaccine acceptance was associated with male gender (OR = 3.67, p=.016), fear of contracting H1N1 (OR = 3.18, p=.016), and receipt of a seasonal influenza vaccine in the past year (OR = 3.07, p=.031). H1N1 vaccine acceptance was not significantly associated with age, race, perceived severity of H1N1, belief that the H1N1 vaccine would cause illness, or talking about H1N1 with friends.
Conclusions: Less than half of teachers surveyed indicated that they would get an H1N1 vaccination. Fear of contracting H1N1 was a significant correlate of vaccine acceptance. Teachers may play a pivotal role in school-based H1N1 vaccinations. Understanding and addressing teachers’ attitudes toward H1N1 vaccination may assist in future immunization efforts.