Infectious Disease

Influenza vaccinations don’t improve consumption amongst normal practitioners

February 24, 2021

2 min read

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A push to remind general practitioners to get an influenza vaccine even though it was deemed “acceptable” didn’t increase intake, according to researchers.

“Most public health interventions use education programs to change the knowledge and attitudes of health workers about vaccination.” Adriaan Barbaroux, MD, Head of a general practice clinic at the Université Cote d’Azur in France and colleagues wrote in Family Practice. “These programs showed limited impact, suggesting that information-only approaches are not enough.”

Reference: Barbaroux A, et al. Fam. Pract. 2021; doi: 10.1093 / fampra / cmab001.

Barbaroux and colleagues were aware that vaccination rates among European health workers range from 6.4% to 30% and hypothesized that a push that encourages residents to get their influenza vaccine would be acceptable and would increase the intake of influenza vaccines. They randomly assigned 161 general practitioners based in France to a group that received the push (n = 59), a group that did not (n = 36), and, to evaluate the Hawthorne effect, a control group, which also did not receive the impetus (n = 66). The age of the residents ranged from 23 to 35 years and most (67.5%) were women.

For the first step of the study, the nudge recipients received a questionnaire about their vaccination opinions for themselves and the patients as well as about their professional experience. They were also given a paper form with information about a free influenza vaccine and contact information for occupational health services. The group that did not receive the kick-off received the same questionnaire but no form. For the second step, which took place 1 month later, the control group received the questionnaire. All three groups were then given an explanation of the offense and completed a questionnaire about their vaccination status and acceptance of the offense.

Adriaan Barbaroux

Barbaroux and colleagues reported that the effectiveness of the bump was “not verified” in the first two groups.

“Similarly, the Hawthorne effect, which required a higher vaccination rate in Step 1 groups than the control group included in Step 2, was not detected,” they wrote.

However, all three groups rated the nudging process as “acceptable” for residents (mean value on a seven-point Likert scale = 6.34) and patients (mean value on a seven-point Likert scale = 6.31).

“These data show the importance of choosing the right push for the right population,” the researchers concluded. “Despite the growing popularity of nudges, they are not necessarily effective, underscoring the importance of policymakers adapting an intervention to the needs of the population.”

When asked if a similar push would be beneficial for a COVID-19 vaccine, Barbaroux told Healio Primary Care that it was unlikely to have an impact.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is of great cognitive importance. So there is no need for a memory, ”he said. “However, reminders can be helpful when healthcare providers are fully aware of the dangers of flu and COVID-19 and are often overwhelmed. Most often, if a health care worker is not vaccinated, it is not because they really refused the vaccine, but because they waited too long. “

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