A study to determine the relationship between patient related factors and influenza vaccination status
Background: Identifying and addressing the barriers to influenza vaccination can increase vaccine uptake not only through public health promotions by institutions, but also in consultations and recommendations by individual healthcare practitioners. In this study, I aim to establish the main attributing factors influencing vaccination sentiment and potential vaccine coverage in a retail pharmacy environment. Methodology: The study was quantitative cross-sectional and prospective in design. Data collection was done by means of a self-administered hardcopy questionnaire adapted and tailored from previous studies. Adult patients that brought a prescription (acute or chronic) or needed a repeat prescription to be filled (that has not been prepared beforehand) were invited to participate. The study was conducted at Clicks Pharmacy in Cresta Shopping Centre, where data collection was done from 1 April to 28 August 2020. Participants (n = 388) were mostly from the Cresta Shopping Centre catchment area (Blairgowrie, Fairland, Linden, Northcliff, Weltevreden Park, Ferndale, Greenside and Randpark Ridge) and were between the ages of 18 and 87 years. Of the 388 participants, 244 were females and 144 males. An analytical analysis was done using the chi-square test of independence to prove links between vaccination status and the variables age, chronic conditions (HIV, respiratory conditions, diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and previous vaccinations. Results: A total of 152 (39%) of the participants were vaccinated and 236 (61%) were not vaccinated. Most respondents reported getting vaccinated to avoid getting flu (87.5%) and most unvaccinated participants (40.3%) did not regard it as important. Just over a third (34.9%) of reponsdents who chose this reason fell into a category that places them in a risk group. There is a marked increase in the probability of a patient returning to vaccinate after a previous vaccination within the last five years (2015-2019) with an Odds Ratio of 5.234 (95% confidence levels 3.352-8.174). Conclusion: As per the most popular reason not to vaccinate, the idea amongst patients that influenza is nothing to be concerned about became abundantly clear. Patients in risk groups were shown to consider themselves as not having any higher risk for severe influenza or complications due to influenza. This is partly due to the lack of recommendation by the healthcare providers and lack of education in this regard among patients and healthcare providers alike. Previously vaccinated individuals were shown to be significantly more likely to be vaccinated again. Considering the higher probability for a previously vaccinated patient to return for another vaccination, establishing the reason for the first vaccination would prove vital information to formulate a strategy to increase vaccination. This would be a valuable topic for future research.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Degree of Master of Science in Pharmacotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Therapeutic Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022