Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Myths Still Affect Influenza Vaccine Uptake

Myths Still Affect Influenza Vaccine Uptake

Research by the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences reveals there is still some way to go to before most people aged 65 and over across the country take advantage of free flu vaccination, despite its efficacy in preventing influenza in this age group. The research from the Department of Public Health and General Practice, shows there are significant variations in uptake of the vaccine across the country, while myths still persist about influenza and the vaccination.

Influenza is a serious disease in older people. Between 1990 and 1999, 278 people were admitted to hospital each year with influenza and 34 died. Influenza vaccination reduces the risk of serious illness and death from influenza.

The research investigated knowledge and attitudes about influenza vaccination amongst GPs, practice nurses and people 65 and over, and will be published in the NZ Medical Journal on May 6.

“We know the uptake of the influenza vaccine varies significantly across the country. In Canterbury the coverage for people 65 and over is on target at 75%. But in Northland and Auckland it is only 46% and 49% respectively, which is sub-optimal,” says Dr Cheryl Brunton, a member of the study team. Our study looked at some of the reasons for this, she says.

Researchers found that although those people 65 and over who responded to the survey were well-informed about influenza, and the vaccine and possible complications from getting the ‘flu’, many myths about the vaccine are still common currency. These myths dissuade at least some older people from being vaccinated.

They include a belief that older people don’t need the vaccine if they are healthy, or that they can get the flu through having the vaccination. Neither of these is true, she says, but they persist. Concern about side effects was also a reason some older people didn’t get vaccinated, but serious reactions to the vaccination are very rare, says Dr Brunton.

Older people who have received a recommendation from their GP or practice nurse are significantly more likely to be vaccinated. “This really shows how important it is that GPs and practice nurses promote vaccination to their patients”, says Dr Brunton. The study found that 99% of GPs and practice nurses agree that influenza can be serious in older people and that even healthy older people can get influenza. Most providers already recognise the importance of influenza vaccination.

Dr Brunton believes the University of Otago research findings emphasise the importance of good public communication by DHBs and PHOs, as well as GPs and practice nurses in getting across the flu vaccine message to older people, and those with chronic conditions. She says Canterbury has made a special effort in this regard over a number of years resulting in high coverage in people 65 and over.

However, 50% of GPs say that increasing the subsidy for the vaccine will help improve coverage of the flu vaccine, and also improving patient recall systems, while practice nurses place highest priority on public education. The latter strategies are part of the current campaign.

While more than two thirds of GPs and practice nurses are vaccinated against influenza, many of those who aren’t, say they didn’t get around to it. “Primary care doctors and nurses have far higher rates of uptake of influenza vaccination than have been reported in hospital staff, but their levels of protection can still be improved”, says Dr Brunton . Even though the vaccination campaign has been delayed this year, GPs and practice nurses need to take time to protect themselves as well as their patients.

The researchers suggest that to make further increases in vaccine coverage, the National Influenza Strategy Group (NISG) should continue to target both GPs and practice nurses, and people 65 and over, and those with chronic diseases who are eligible for free vaccination.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>

ALSO:

Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news