Promoting Wellness: An Influenza Vaccination Initiative for University Health

Date

2024-03-07

Authors

Loftin, Collette
Devkota, Shravan
Phillips, Angela
Correa, Priscella
Friemel, Alee
Drinnon, Sherri

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Abstract

The annual influenza season in the United States poses a considerable public health burden, leading to numerous deaths, hospitalizations, and substantial economic costs. Despite the preventable nature of influenza, vaccination rates remain below the target, with only 46.9% of adults immunized during the 2022-23 season. This study examines the effectiveness of a comprehensive influenza vaccination initiative implemented at the West Texas A&M University to address the specific challenges of a densely populated campus environment. A campus wide influenza immunization initiative that began in 2018, has demonstrated positive outcomes, with increasing vaccination numbers each year. The study utilized a survey to evaluate the experiences and motivations of faculty and staff who participated in the fall of 2023. Convenience emerged as a key factor influencing vaccination decisions, with over 88% of participants cited it as a major consideration. The survey also revealed the initiative's success in attracting individuals who might not have actively sought vaccination elsewhere, emphasizing the importance of on-campus accessibility. Nursing faculty wish to continue to promote on campus wellness and so to further enhance vaccination rates, the study recommends robust marketing strategies, follow-up conversations with vaccine decliners, additional vaccination dates, easily accessible drive-through clinics, and faculty-led wellness events.

Description

A global trend exists that includes marketing influenza vaccines for only those populations at highest risk, including the elderly, small children, and those with predisposing health conditions (Principi et al., 2018). However, the constantly evolving nature of influenza viruses require continuous global monitoring and frequent reformulation of the vaccine for all populations. Among the marketing strategies utilized to encourage all populations to get vaccinated include text messaging, email (Zhou et al., 2020) and social media, flyers, announcements, fact sheets, and word of mouth (Bonner et al., 2023). Inconvenience is reported to be the major reason individuals choose not to be vaccinated and must be considered when promoting vaccinations. In addition to inconvenience, other reasons for refusal have been identified. These include lack of time, fear of needles, cost, and perceived allergies (Roberto et al., 2019; Maltz & Sarid, 2020; Poltilove, 2018). Another reason conveyed was related to lack of confidence in the vaccine’s ability to prevent flu infection (Poltilove, 2018). A brief eight item survey was developed to be administered to each participant immediately after receiving their immunization. Our project was an evaluation of the flu shot initiative.

Keywords

2024 Faculty and Student Research Poster Session and Research Fair, West Texas A&M University, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Poster, Influenza, Vaccines, Public health

Citation