University of Georgia finds personal experience crucial to influenza vaccination decision

Courtesy of the CDC
A study from the University of Georgia (UGA) indicates that personal experience relating to receiving the annual influenza vaccine can play a part in whether or not someone chooses to be vaccinated, researchers said Monday.

In the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, it states that approximately 29.6 percent of adults between 18 and 49 get vaccines; in the next age group, from 50 to 64, 46.5 percent do; in those over the age of 68, 67.9 percent get vaccinated.

Those behind this study surveyed communication research relating to flu vaccination between 2000 and 2013. Reasons that researchers found for not getting the vaccine included perceptions that the illness is manageable and previous negative experience with the vaccination process. Some reasons that individuals do get vaccinated included convenience of administration, trusted doctor recommendations or that they are older and have external chronic conditions.

"Overall, these studies consistently found that people need to see flu as real and serious health threat -- either through personal experience or communication messages and materials -- in order to get vaccinated," Glen Nowak, study author and director of UGA's Center for Health and Risk Communication within the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, said. "They also consistently found that misperceptions, such as believing the vaccine causes the flu, remain and are sometimes held by healthcare providers."

Nowak was joined in this study by Kelli Bursey of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. This study can be found in the most recent edition of Vaccine.

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Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education University of Georgia

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