Risk Perceptions, Past Vaccination, and Vaccine Acceptance for Seasonal and Outbreak (2009 H1N1) Influenzas Among a University Sample
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Over the past decade illness outbreaks have posed a serious threat to human life and well-being. The 2009 outbreak H1N1/A influenza virus also was expected to disproportionately affect healthy, young persons under the age of 25 years. However, acceptance and uptake of preventive health behaviors among this cohort is poorly understood, thus precluding a comprehensive understanding of this group’s perceptions of outbreak illnesses as well as acceptance of vaccination efforts intended to control the spread and associated morbidity of either seasonal or outbreak influenza in this cohort. The Health Belief Model (HBM) is used as the framework of this thesis research to model vaccine acceptance among 158 university members through multiple hierarchical logistic regression modeling of cross-sectional survey response data. Models were constructed for both seasonal and outbreak influenzas to determine if four risk perceptions and past uptake of the seasonal flu shot were associated with vaccine acceptance while exploratory tests of interaction effects were also included in the regression models. Results provide support for the HBM-defined relationships between risk perceptions and vaccine acceptance group membership. Significant differences were found between perceived likelihood and severity of the two influenzas, as well as for perceived risks of the two vaccines in within-groups analysis. Between-groups analysis indicated that the perceived likelihood dimension interacts with past flu shot uptake in subgroup analysis in predicting acceptance of the seasonal flu shot for members who do not typically receive the seasonal flu shot, but not for those who report past flu shot uptake. Though factors associated with vaccine acceptance are similar between outbreak and seasonal influenzas, the presence of this interaction effect may be replicated and thus shed light on this cohort’s use of preventive health behaviors such as vaccination that may be used only infrequently, but have been shown to be important for control and prevention of common and outbreak forms of influenza viruses.