Giving Vaccination a Shot: Describing seasonal influenza vaccine hesitancy at Public Health - Seattle & King County
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Unlike healthcare workers, little research has been pursued to understand the reasons for declination of the seasonal influenza vaccine among clinical and non-clinical public health professionals. This research project aimed to describe the reasons for declination of the seasonal influenza vaccine as well as any motivating factors that might promote vaccination among a sample of 10 public health workers at Public Health - Seattle & King County. The results would inform possible areas for Public Health - Seattle & King County to target in order to increase their organizational rates of seasonal influenza vaccination. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of the participants. The subsequent transcripts were analyzed using directed content analysis [Hsieh & Shannon, 2005]; codes were developed from the research questions, interview guides, and the Health Belief Model. Participants declined for many reasons, including: lack of perceived susceptibility, lack of perceived benefits of vaccination, and concerns about the safety of the vaccine. Additionally, five categories of motivational factors emerged from the analysis: 1) evidence about influenza or seasonal influenza vaccine, 2) incentives to promote vaccination, 3) mandatory vaccination policies, 4) generalized risks of acquiring/transmitting seasonal influenza, and 5) personalized risks of acquiring/transmitting seasonal influenza. Measures adopted by Public Health - Seattle & King County that are perceived to be coercive may prompt some participants to reassert their anti-vaccination stance more firmly. Therefore, three areas were chosen for Public Health - Seattle & King County to target based on these results: 1) shifting perceptions away from influenza vaccination as a form of over-medication, 2) promoting vaccination as a way to benefit the common good, and 3) personalizing the risks of seasonal influenza. Pursuit of any or all of these recommendations hopefully will yield cost-effective interventions that can be utilized by Public Health - Seattle & King County to increase their organizational seasonal influenza vaccination rate.
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