Category: Professional Posters
Purpose: Seasonal influenza vaccination rates among college students are consistently well below national goals. To raise awareness of influenza and increase vaccination rates among college students at a local university, a campaign using incentives and competitions, called #BearTheBand-Aid (#BtB), was started several years ago. Although #BtB has slightly increased vaccination rates, it has not been as successful as anticipated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate student awareness of #BtB and explore what motivates and incentivizes students to get their annual flu vaccination. In addition, this study sought to identify factors that prevented students from getting their annual flu shot.
Methods: An anonymous 20-item online survey was developed using RedCap survey software. The survey items included eight “yes” or “no”, nine 5-point Likert items, and three selection questions. The survey questions assessed whether respondents were aware of the #BtB campaign; it also identified reasons respondents did not get vaccinated, and how likely current incentives and those under consideration would motivate them to be vaccinated. Inclusion criteria were age 18 to 24 years old, current enrollment and physically attending classes on the local university campus. Students enrolled in health professions programs were excluded. The survey was reviewed by faculty with content expertise and distributed to nine random college students to check face validity. After local IRB approval, the online-survey was opened for 8 weeks. Self-selecting subject recruitment occurred by disseminating a QR code and URL to link to the survey by paper flyers, social media, and email. In addition, electronic versions of the flyer were posted as home screens on all university computers. Likert scales assessed how likely current #BtB incentives and those under consideration would increase student motivation to get their vaccination. In addition, Likert scales also assessed how likely certain influencers (i.e. parents, and friends) would motivate students to get vaccinated. Data were analyzed using descriptive and non-parametric inferential statistics using Microsoft Excel. Significance was established apriori as a p-value < 0.05.
Results: There were 448 respondents; 238 met inclusion criteria, of which 103 (43%) received a flu shot. The most common factors preventing unvaccinated students from getting their flu shot were lack of time and a dislike of getting shots. Adding more locations on campus for students to receive their flu shot, would motivate more than a third (54 (40%)) of unvaccinated students to be vaccinated. There were 171 (72%) students unaware of #BtB, of which 112 (65%) were unvaccinated. One or both current #BtB incentives would increase motivation in 73 (65%) of these students. Regardless of vaccination status, students who were unaware of #BtB would be more likely get vaccinated if they knew about current #BtB incentives. Similarly, if students were aware of #BtB and the incentives under consideration, regardless of vaccination status, they would likely be more motivated to get vaccinated. Of the two incentives under consideration, winning a gift card to a local restaurant would motivate the most unvaccinated students 80 (59%). In students who were aware of #BtB, influencers (i.e. parents, and friends) motivated vaccinated students significantly more than unvaccinated students (p=0.040) However, among students who were unaware of #BtB, they motivated vaccinated and unvaccinated students similarly.
Conclusion: The university’s influenza vaccination rate is below national goals and awareness of #BtB is low. Reasons preventing students from getting their annual influenza vaccination were consistent with other studies. Increasing awareness of #BtB could improve influenza vaccination rates because students may be more motivated to get vaccinated knowing they could receive current #BtB incentives or those under consideration. Offering more locations for students to receive their flu shot may also increase the university’s influenza vaccination rate. Strategies to increase awareness of the #BtB campaign among students’ parents and friends, and offer more on-campus locations for vaccinations should be explored.