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The public's acceptance of novel vaccines during a pandemic: a focus group study and its application to influenza H1N1

By N Henrich and B Holmes


As influenza H1N1 spreads around the world, health officials are considering the development and use of a new vaccine to protect the public and help control the outbreak. Acceptance of novel vaccines during health crises, however, is influenced by perceptions of a range of risks, including the risk of infection, risk of becoming severely ill or dying if infected, as well as the risk of serious side and long-term effects of the vaccine. A study on 11 focus groups was conducted with the public in Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and 2007 to explore how people assess these risks and how these assessments relate to their willingness to use novel vaccines in a pandemic. Concerns about using new vaccines during a pandemic differ from concerns about using established products in a non-crisis situation. Participants were hesitant to use novel vaccines because of a low perception of the early risk of infection in a pandemic, coupled with the many uncertainties that surround new vaccines and the emerging infectious disease, and owing to the concern that unsafe pharmaceuticals may be rushed to market during a health crisis. Understanding the public´s assessment of the risks related to, and willingness to use, novel vaccines during a pandemic can help officials promote disease-control measures in ways that improve the likelihood of acceptance by the public and may increase uptake of an H1N1 vaccine

Topics: Original Research Articles
Publisher: CoAction Publishing
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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