Impact of General Practitioner Education on Acceptance of an Adjuvanted Seasonal Influenza Vaccine among Older Adults in England
Seasonal vaccination against influenza and in-pandemic COVID-19 vaccination are top public health priorities; vaccines are the primary means of reducing infections and also controlling pressures on health systems. During the 2018–2019 influenza season, we conducted a study of the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours of 159 general practitioners (GPs) and 189 patients aged ≥65 years in England using a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches to document beliefs about seasonal influenza and seasonal influenza vaccine. GPs were surveyed before and after a continuing medical education (CME) module on influenza disease and vaccination with an adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV) designed for patients aged ≥65 years, and patients were surveyed before and after a routine visit with a GP who participated in the CME portion of the study. The CME course was associated with significantly increased GP confidence in their ability to address patients’ questions and concerns about influenza disease and vaccination (p < 0.001). Patients reported significantly increased confidence in the effectiveness and safety of aTIV after meeting their GP. Overall, 82.2% of the study population were vaccinated against influenza (including 137 patients vaccinated during the GP visit and 15 patients who had been previously vaccinated), a rate higher than the English national average vaccine uptake of 72.0% that season. These findings support the value of GP-patient interactions to foster vaccine acceptance.