Theoretical Background and research questions/hypothesis:
The National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases is developing a communication program to increase awareness of the need for adult immunization and encourage timely vaccination of adults according to the CDC recommended immunization schedule. The priority audiences for this program are those at highest risk for severe complications from vaccine-preventable diseases: adults with chronic conditions and older adults.
The overarching goal of the research for this project is to support the development of an in-depth understanding of target audiences’ knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to adult immunizations. This includes both adults for whom vaccines are recommended as well as health care professionals who are in a position to recommend and/or administer vaccines to adults. We seek to use this information to develop a program to increase adults’ awareness of the need for immunization, intentions to get vaccinated, and receipt of timely vaccinations per the CDC adult immunization schedule.
Methods: Given the limited research on adult immunizations (non-influenza and pneumococcal) , the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases utilized a mixed method research approach including both quantitative and qualitative to understand adults’ vaccine knowledge, attitudes, beliefs (KABs), and behaviors. To develop a baseline understanding of adults’ KABs, we utilized Porter Novelli’s FallStyles survey. Additionally, 67 focus groups were conducted in three cities with adults ages 40 to 59 with and without chronic health conditions and adults aged 60 years and older, to learn about their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to adult vaccination. We are also conducting in-depth interviews with health care professionals (medical doctors, nurses, and physicians’ assistants) to understand their KABs and behaviors regarding adult vaccinations and recommendations. Finally, in an effort to best target our intended population, we conducted a re-contact study with Scarborough Market Research to link adult vaccination behaviors with national and localized market data.
Results: In general, adults were not aware of their need for vaccines and did not report that adult vaccines were being routinely recommended to them they do, however, feel that immunization is important and were likely to consider and get vaccines if recommended by their doctor. Results related to in-depth interviews with health care professionals will also be reported. The results of this research are being used to develop strategy, messaging, and materials to educate adults about the importance of vaccination and promote timely vaccination according to the recommended schedule.
Knowledge and awareness of recommended adult vaccines is still low. Efforts to raise awarenss among the public and health care professionals should address information on what vaccines are recommended, questions and concerns related to adult vaccines, and be sensitive to the diverse groups and their unique needs and expectations.
Implications for research and/or practice: The results of each of these research projects will be shared to illustrate and support decisions contributing to messaging and material development for adult vaccines as well as future directions for research and communication interventions.