General practitioners and rheumatologists were viewed as sources of information that led to positive views toward vaccinations, while internet chatrooms, social media, and mainstream media were seen as sources of information that led to negative views.
The results from a questionnaire of patients with inflammatory arthritis in Australia show patients generally feel positive about vaccinations, although may feel confused or unaware of what vaccines they should be receiving.
A team, led by Andrea Lyon, MD, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville South, and The University of Adelaide, determined the vaccination rates, perceptions, and information sources among patients with inflammatory arthritis.
In the study, the investigators identified from patients in the Australian Rheumatology Association Database and requested online questionnaire answers for 1498 participants. The questionnaires, which included questions about vaccination history, modified World Health Organization Vaccination Hesitancy Scale, views of the information sources consulted, the Beliefs About Medicines Questionnaire, education, and the Single-Item Health Literacy Screener, took place in January 2020.
Of the 1498 requests, 66% (n = 994) responded and were included in the final analysis. The median age of responders was 62 years and 67% of the patient population was female.
The results show self-reported adherence was 83% for the influenza vaccine, with responders showing generally positive views toward vaccination in safety, efficacy, and access.
On the other hand, only 43% of responders were aware of which vaccinations were recommended for them.
For those that were hesitant toward vaccines, this was primarily due to uncertainty and a perceived lack of information about which vaccines were recommended.
In addition, the participants consulted a median of 3 vaccination information sources, including general practitioners (89%) and rheumatologists (76%), the 2 most used information sources and the 2 information sources most likely to yield positive views for vaccination.
However, there were information sources that produced largely negative views toward vaccination. The negative views of vaccination were most likely sourced from internet chatrooms, social media, and mainstream media.
The results also show younger age, male gender, and having more concerns about the harms and overuse of medicines in general were associated with lower adherence and a greater uncertainty on vaccinations. However, education and self-reported literacy were not linked to uncertainty about vaccinations.
“Participants with inflammatory arthritis generally held positive views about vaccination, although there was considerable uncertainty as to which vaccinations were recommended for them,” the authors wrote. “This study highlights the need for improved consumer information about vaccination recommendations for people with inflammatory arthritis.”
The study, “Vaccination Rates, Perceptions, and Information Sources Used by People With Inflammatory Arthritis,” was published online in ACR Open Rheumatology.