A formative research-guided educational intervention to improve the knowledge and attitudes of seniors towards influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations

Vaccine
Volume 35, Issue 47, Pages 6355-6468 (7 November 2017)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0264410X/35/47?sdc=1

Regular papers
A formative research-guided educational intervention to improve the knowledge and attitudes of seniors towards influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations
Original Research Article
Pages 6367-6374
Hanley J. Ho, Yin Ying Chan, Muhamad Alif bin Ibrahim, Anurupa A. Wagle, Christina M. Wong, Angela Chow
Abstract
Background
Adult influenza and pneumococcal vaccination rates in Singapore are low, and factors influencing knowledge and attitudes of seniors towards influenza, pneumonia and their respective vaccines are not well-known. Our study aims to understand the barriers and facilitators towards getting influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations among seniors in Singapore, and subsequently inform the conduct of a relevant community-based educational intervention, as well as evaluate the intervention outcomes.
Methods
We performed a mixed methods study with two components: Firstly, formative research was conducted among community-dwelling seniors, using focus group discussions (FGDs), to understand their knowledge and attitudes towards influenza, pneumonia and their respective vaccines. Next, a quantitative study was conducted to evaluate knowledge of seniors and the effectiveness of an educational intervention.
Results
Four FGDs were organised with 32 participants, who were predominantly female, of lower educational background, and residing in government rental flats. Participants had varying levels of knowledge and many misconceptions about influenza, pneumonia and their respective vaccinations, with concerns about side effects and vaccine effectiveness. The formative research results were used to inform a community-based educational intervention for seniors. Our subsequent evaluation included 604 elderly participants, mainly from lower educational and socio-economic strata, who initially demonstrated poor knowledge scores (median score 5 out of 9, IQR 4-5). Following our intervention, median knowledge score improved to 7 (IQR 6-8) (p < .0001). Significant improvements in knowledge scores were observed across genders, age strata, education levels, and housing types.
Discussion
Our formative research identified knowledge gaps among community-dwelling seniors which affected their attitudes towards vaccination uptake. Key findings were taken into consideration when implementing the educational intervention. Our community-based intervention was effective in improving knowledge and attitudes, and could be used as a cue to action for short-term behaviour changes.