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1.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(1)2021 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580372

ABSTRACT

Healthcare workers' COVID-19 vaccination coverage is important for staff and patient safety, workforce capacity and patient uptake. We aimed to identify COVID-19 vaccine intentions, factors associated with uptake and information needs for healthcare workers in Victoria, Australia. We administered a cross-sectional online survey to healthcare workers in hospitals, primary care and aged or disability care settings (12 February-26 March 2021). The World Health Organization Behavioural and Social Drivers of COVID-19 vaccination framework informed survey design and framing of results. Binary regression results adjusted for demographics provide risk differences between those intending and not intending to accept a COVID-19 vaccine. In total, 3074 healthcare workers completed the survey. Primary care healthcare workers reported the highest intention to accept a COVID-19 vaccine (84%, 755/898), followed by hospital-based (77%, 1396/1811) and aged care workers (67%, 243/365). A higher proportion of aged care workers were concerned about passing COVID-19 to their patients compared to those working in primary care or hospitals. Only 25% felt they had sufficient information across five vaccine topics, but those with sufficient information had higher vaccine intentions. Approximately half thought vaccines should be mandated. Despite current high vaccine rates, our results remain relevant for booster programs and future vaccination rollouts.

2.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(1)2021 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580371

ABSTRACT

Healthcare workers' COVID-19 vaccination coverage is important for staff and patient safety, workforce capacity and patient uptake. We aimed to identify COVID-19 vaccine intentions, factors associated with uptake and information needs for healthcare workers in Victoria, Australia. We administered a cross-sectional online survey to healthcare workers in hospitals, primary care and aged or disability care settings (12 February-26 March 2021). The World Health Organization Behavioural and Social Drivers of COVID-19 vaccination framework informed survey design and framing of results. Binary regression results adjusted for demographics provide risk differences between those intending and not intending to accept a COVID-19 vaccine. In total, 3074 healthcare workers completed the survey. Primary care healthcare workers reported the highest intention to accept a COVID-19 vaccine (84%, 755/898), followed by hospital-based (77%, 1396/1811) and aged care workers (67%, 243/365). A higher proportion of aged care workers were concerned about passing COVID-19 to their patients compared to those working in primary care or hospitals. Only 25% felt they had sufficient information across five vaccine topics, but those with sufficient information had higher vaccine intentions. Approximately half thought vaccines should be mandated. Despite current high vaccine rates, our results remain relevant for booster programs and future vaccination rollouts.

3.
Vaccine ; 2021 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586271

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted vaccination services and raised the risk of a global resurgence of preventable diseases. We assessed the extent of and reasons for missed or delayed vaccinations (hereafter 'missed') in middle- and high-income countries in the early months of the pandemic. METHODS: From May to June 2020, participants completed an online survey on missed vaccination. Analyses separated missed childhood and adult vaccination in middle-and high-income countries. RESULTS: Respondents were 28,429 adults from 26 middle- and high-income countries. Overall, 9% of households had missed a vaccine, and 13% were unsure. More households in middle- than high-income countries reported missed childhood vaccination (7.6% vs. 3.0%) and missed adult vaccination (9.6% vs. 3.4%, both p < .05). Correlates of missed childhood vaccination in middle-income countries included COVID-19 risk factors (respiratory and cardiovascular diseases), younger age, male sex, employment, psychological distress, larger household size, and more children. In high-income countries, correlates of missed childhood vaccination also included immunosuppressive conditions, but did not include sex or household size. Fewer correlates were associated with missed adult vaccination other than COVID-19 risk factors and psychological distress. Common reasons for missed vaccinations were worry about getting COVID-19 at the vaccination clinic (15%) or when leaving the house (11%). Other reasons included no healthcare provider recommendation, clinic closure, and wanting to save services for others. INTERPRETATION: Missed vaccination was common and more prevalent in middle- than high-income countries. Missed vaccination could be mitigated by emphasizing COVID-19 safety measures in vaccination clinics, ensuring free and accessible immunization, and clear healthcare provider recommendations.

4.
Aust N Z J Public Health ; 2021 Dec 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1570283

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Tailored communication is necessary to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and increase uptake. We aimed to understand the information needs, perceived benefits and barriers to COVID-19 vaccination of people prioritised, but hesitant to receive the vaccine. METHOD: In this qualitative study in Victoria, Australia (February-May 2021), we purposively sampled hesitant adults who were health or aged/disability care workers (n=20), or adults aged 18-69 with comorbidities or aged ≥70 years ('prioritised adults'; n=19). We thematically analysed interviews inductively, then deductively organised themes within the World Health Organization Behavioural and Social Drivers of vaccination model. Two stakeholder workshops (n=12) explored understanding and preferences for communicating risks and benefits. We subsequently formed communication recommendations. RESULTS: Prioritised adults and health and aged care workers had short- and long-term safety concerns specific to personal circumstances, and felt like "guinea pigs". They saw vaccination as beneficial for individual and community protection and travel. Some health and aged care workers felt insufficiently informed to recommend vaccines, or viewed this as outside their scope of practice. Workshop participants requested interactive materials and transparency from spokespeople about uncertainty. Conclusions and public health implications: Eleven recommendations address communication content, delivery and context to increase uptake and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines.

5.
Aust J Gen Pract ; 492020 Sep 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503121

ABSTRACT

There is a strong public health ethical justification to introduce a vaccine injury compensation scheme in Australia, and it needs to be in place before widespread use of COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Australia , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines/adverse effects
8.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 120, 2021 Jan 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054806

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As immunisation program launches have previously demonstrated, it is essential that careful planning occurs now to ensure the readiness of the public for a COVID-19 vaccine. As part of that process, this study aimed to understand the public perceptions regarding a future COVID-19 vaccine in Australia. METHODS: A national cross-sectional online survey of 1420 Australian adults (18 years and older) was undertaken between 18 and 24 March 2020. The statistical analysis of the data included univariate and multivariable logistic regression model analysis. RESULTS: Respondents generally held positive views towards vaccination. Eighty percent (n = 1143) agreed with the statement that getting myself vaccinated for COVID-19 would be a good way to protect myself against infection. Females (n = 614, 83%) were more likely to agree with the statement than males (n = 529, 78%) (aOR = 1.4 (95% CI: 1.1-1.8); P = 0.03), while 91% of those aged 70 years and above agreed compared to 76% of 18-29-year-olds (aOR = 2.3 (95% CI:1.2-4.1); P = 0.008). Agreement was also higher for those with a self-reported chronic disease (aOR = 1.4 (95% CI: 1.1-2.0); P = 0.04) and among those who held private health insurance (aOR = 1.7 (95% CI: 1.3-2.3); P < 0.001). Beyond individual perceptions, 78% stated that their decision to vaccinate would be supported by family and friends. CONCLUSION: This study presents an early indication of public perceptions towards a future COVID-19 vaccine and represents a starting point for mapping vaccine perceptions. To support an effective launch of these new vaccines, governments need to use this time to understand the communities concerns and to identify the strategies that will support engagement.


Subject(s)
Attitude to Health , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/psychology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acceptance of Health Care/psychology , Patient Acceptance of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Surveys and Questionnaires , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
9.
Humanities & Social Sciences Communications ; 8(1), 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1050008

ABSTRACT

Several countries have successfully reduced their COVID-19 infection rate early, while others have been overwhelmed. The reasons for the differences are complex, but response efficacy has in part depended on the speed and scale of governmental intervention and how communities have received, perceived, and acted on the information provided by governments and other agencies. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ communications strategy to deliver information during a prolonged crisis, in this article, we draw on key findings from scholarship in multiple social science disciplines to highlight some fundamental characteristics of effective governmental crisis communication. We then present ten recommendations for effective communication strategies to engender maximum support and participation. We argue that an effective communication strategy is a two-way process that involves clear messages, delivered via appropriate platforms, tailored for diverse audiences, and shared by trusted people. Ultimately, the long-term success depends on developing and maintaining public trust. We outline how government policymakers can engender widespread public support and participation through increased and ongoing community engagement. We argue that a diversity of community groups must be included in engagement activities. We also highlight the implications of emerging digital technologies in communication and engagement activities.

10.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(1): e23805, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1013294

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Misinformation about COVID-19 is common and has been spreading rapidly across the globe through social media platforms and other information systems. Understanding what the public knows about COVID-19 and identifying beliefs based on misinformation can help shape effective public health communications to ensure efforts to reduce viral transmission are not undermined. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with COVID-19 misinformation in Australia and their changes over time. METHODS: This prospective, longitudinal national survey was completed by adults (18 years and above) across April (n=4362), May (n=1882), and June (n=1369) 2020. RESULTS: Stronger agreement with misinformation was associated with younger age, male gender, lower education level, and language other than English spoken at home (P<.01 for all). After controlling for these variables, misinformation beliefs were significantly associated (P<.001) with lower levels of digital health literacy, perceived threat of COVID-19, confidence in government, and trust in scientific institutions. Analyses of specific government-identified misinformation revealed 3 clusters: prevention (associated with male gender and younger age), causation (associated with lower education level and greater social disadvantage), and cure (associated with younger age). Lower institutional trust and greater rejection of official government accounts were associated with stronger agreement with COVID-19 misinformation. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study highlight important gaps in communication effectiveness, which must be addressed to ensure effective COVID-19 prevention.


Subject(s)
Attitude to Health , COVID-19 , Communication , Consumer Health Information , Social Media , Adult , Attitude to Health/ethnology , Australia , COVID-19/psychology , Computer Literacy , Female , Health Literacy , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Multivariate Analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Socioeconomic Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires , Trust
12.
J Bioeth Inq ; 17(4): 581-589, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-917156

ABSTRACT

This article explores the consequences of failure to communicate early, as recommended in risk communication scholarship, during the first stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and the United Kingdom. We begin by observing that the principles of risk communication are regarded as basic best practices rather than as moral rules. We argue firstly, that they nonetheless encapsulate value commitments, and secondly, that these values should more explicitly underpin communication practices in a pandemic. Our focus is to explore the values associated with the principle of communicating early and often and how use of this principle can signal respect for people's self-determination whilst also conveying other values relevant to the circumstances. We suggest that doing this requires communication that explicitly acknowledges and addresses with empathy those who will be most directly impacted by any disease-control measures. We suggest further that communication in a pandemic should be more explicit about how values are expressed in response strategies and that doing so may improve the appraisal of new information as it becomes available.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communication , Information Dissemination , Social Values , Australia/epidemiology , Empathy , Humans , Morals , Pandemics , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
13.
Public Health Res Pract ; 30(2)2020 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-890803

ABSTRACT

Although there has been consistent evidence indicating that school closures have only limited efficacy in reducing community transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the question of whether children should be kept home from school has attracted extensive and often divisive public debate in Australia. In this article we analyse the factors that drove high levels of concern among parents, teachers and the public and led to both demands for school closures in late March 2020, and to many parents' reluctance to return their children to school in May 2020. We discuss how the use of well-established principles of risk communication might have reduced much of this community concern. Then we set out a range of practical suggestions for communication practices that build trust and hence diminish concerns in relation to managing schools over the long term of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Community-Institutional Relations , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Parents/psychology , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Schools/organization & administration , Australia , COVID-19 , Child , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Pandemics , Parent-Child Relations , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Public Health Practice/standards
14.
Australian Journal of General Practice ; 49(10):625-629, 2020.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-847463

ABSTRACT

[...]as has been shown in previous mass vaccination programs, planning for vaccine program rollout and community engagement to optimise vaccine confidence and uptake in Australia needs to commence beforehand, not when the vaccines become available.5 Consistent with its existing role in vaccination programs, primary care professional are anticipated to play a key part in educating patients and carers about the vaccine, administering the vaccine, recording uptake and reporting adverse events following immunisation. There are currently 17 vaccines in phase I trials and 10 vaccines in phase II/III clinical trials (28 August 2020).6 Traditional vaccine development is a lengthy process, usually taking 10-15 years or more, with a distinct, linear sequence of steps and high attrition rate.7 The usual steps include pre-clinical development, safety testing (phase I), safety and immunogenicity testing (phase II) and then safety and efficacy testing (phase III), prior to licensure, production at scale and introduction into the population (Figure 1). Comprehensive post-marketing surveillance to track vaccine safety for these expected adverse events, as well as to detect postulated rarer adverse events such as antibody-enhanced disease, will also be essential to maintain vaccine confidence and achieve high vaccine acceptance and uptake. The WHO10 and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practice (ACIP)11 are currently advising a risk- and aged-based approach for prioritisation of COVID-19 vaccine target groups.

15.
Nat Hum Behav ; 4(7): 677-687, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-616642

ABSTRACT

Governments around the world have implemented measures to manage the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While the majority of these measures are proving effective, they have a high social and economic cost, and response strategies are being adjusted. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that communities should have a voice, be informed and engaged, and participate in this transition phase. We propose ten considerations to support this principle: (1) implement a phased approach to a 'new normal'; (2) balance individual rights with the social good; (3) prioritise people at highest risk of negative consequences; (4) provide special support for healthcare workers and care staff; (5) build, strengthen and maintain trust; (6) enlist existing social norms and foster healthy new norms; (7) increase resilience and self-efficacy; (8) use clear and positive language; (9) anticipate and manage misinformation; and (10) engage with media outlets. The transition phase should also be informed by real-time data according to which governmental responses should be updated.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control/methods , Community Participation , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Government , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Public Policy , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Communication , Health Personnel , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Self Efficacy , Social Norms , Social Stigma , Trust
16.
PLoS One ; 15(6): e0235112, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-611134

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in late 2019, communities have been required to rapidly adopt community mitigation strategies rarely used before, or only in limited settings. This study aimed to examine the attitudes and beliefs of Australian adults towards the COVID-19 pandemic, and willingness and capacity to engage with these mitigation measures. In addition, we aimed to explore the psychosocial and demographic factors that are associated with adoption of recommended hygiene-related and avoidance-related behaviors. METHODS: A national cross-sectional online survey of 1420 Australian adults (18 years and older) was undertaken between the 18 and 24 March 2020. The statistical analysis of the data included univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis. FINDINGS: The survey of 1420 respondents found 50% (710) of respondents felt COVID-19 would 'somewhat' affect their health if infected and 19% perceived their level of risk as high or very high. 84·9% had performed ≥1 of the three recommended hygiene-related behaviors and 93·4% performed ≥1 of six avoidance-related behaviors over the last one month. Adopting avoidance behaviors was associated with trust in government/authorities (aOR: 6.0, 95% CI 2.6-11·0), higher perceived rating of effectiveness of behaviors (aOR: 4·0, 95% CI: 1·8-8·7), higher levels of perceived ability to adopt social distancing strategies (aOR: 5.0, 95% CI: 1·5-9.3), higher trust in government (aOR: 6.0, 95% CI: 2.6-11.0) and higher level of concern if self-isolated (aOR: 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1-3.0). INTERPRETATION: In the last two months, members of the public have been inundated with messages about hygiene and social (physical) distancing. However, our results indicate that a continued focus on supporting community understanding of the rationale for these strategies, as well as instilling community confidence in their ability to adopt or sustain the recommendations is needed.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Health Communication , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Surveys and Questionnaires , Television
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