Association between knowledge of the pneumococcal vaccine, vaccination status and recommendations for vaccination
BACKGROUND Pneumococcal disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae has a high morbidity rate in elderly individuals aged 65 or older. Previous studies have demonstrated that low vaccination rates with the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (pneumovax) are due to a lack of awareness and knowledge about the vaccine in the general population. This study measured the association between the public’s knowledge of the pneumococcal vaccine, vaccination status, the type and number of health care facility visits per participant in the past year and number of advertisements seen for the vaccine. METHODS This study used a survey to test the knowledge of its participants on the pneumococcal vaccine and associated the results with nominal data such as vaccination status and recommendation for vaccination by their primary health care providers. The survey tested the participants using 15 true or false questions that assessed their knowledge on the pneumococcal vaccine and pneumococcal disease. RESULTS No association was found between the knowledge individuals have on the pneumococcal vaccine and whether their health care provider recommended the vaccine (p=0.467). However, a statistical difference in knowledge between individuals who are vaccinated and individuals who are not vaccinated was found (p=0.039 (CHI), p=0.011 (ANOVA)). There was also a positive association found between vaccination status and primary health care provider recommendation for the pneumococcal vaccine (p=0.001). No association was found between vaccination status and number of visits to a primary health care provider in the past year (p=0.149). Using an ANOVA analysis, it was found that there was a difference in number of advertising types seen for each vaccination status group (p=0.011). CONCLUSION Based on the results, it can be concluded that individuals who are vaccinated have more knowledge on the pneumococcal vaccine, but their knowledge is not affected by a recommendation to receive the vaccine from their primary health care provider. This suggests that health care providers are not providing sufficient information about the vaccine to their patients when they recommend it. Despite this knowledge gap, the association between vaccination status and primary health care provider recommendation for the vaccine indicates that individuals are more likely to get vaccinated when their primary health care provider recommends it. However, more visits to the provider annually did not influence the vaccination status of the patient. In addition, results from the ANOVA analysis suggest that participants who saw more vaccine advertisements were more likely to be vaccinated.