Inoculation theory and immunization promotion
Anderton, John Paul
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of the study, Inoculation Theory and Immunization Promotion, was to find out if health promotion materials, in this case a poster promoting childhood immunization, would work better if based in theory than if derived through creativity alone. Inoculation Theory was chosen to support the intervention, and three messages were tested, taken from the immunization literature of the most common reasons parents provide to avoid or delay their child’s vaccinations. Six hundred and eighty participants answered questions about attitudes toward childhood immunization at a medical clinic in Georgia. Demographic information was collected, and questions on vaccination were measured using a 5-point, Likert scale. During the period of the study the media was monitored on local and national levels to ascertain if an influential story on immunization occurred. Immunization was universally viewed as an important issue, and posters on the subject were highly memorable. One of the three messages, on the unexpectedly large number of shots required in the primary immunization series, was found to be significantly different and memorable from the control. Although almost all persons trusted their doctor’s shot recommendations, a quarter indicated that too many shots could weaken or overwhelm an infant’s immune system, and half of respondents indicated worries about vaccine safety. Lack of trust of doctor, misunderstanding of the small risks of immunization, and lack of understanding of the benefits of immunization were expressed particularly by some African-American respondents, posing an education opportunity to service an evident need. Children with minor illnesses are almost always eligible to receive vaccines, yet equal numbers of women expressed agreement, uncertainty and disbelief at this, presenting another education opportunity. Future research should focus on supporting the patient/doctor interaction with ethnic and age tailored, theory-based, proimmunization materials.