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Psychology

Research project: Improving communication with the public about antivirals and vaccination during the next pandemic (INfluENCE)

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In a pandemic flu outbreak, encouraging members of the public to use suitable medication appropriately and to be vaccinated is essential in reducing the frequency and severity of illness. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, many people chose not to have the pandemic flu vaccine or failed to take a full course of antivirals despite being authorised to receive it.

INfluENCE is a project funded by the Department of Health that explores what motivates and what prevents people (both the general public and healthcare workers) to take up the pandemic flu vaccine and/or antiviral medicines during a pandemic flu outbreak. Our project will explore the potential determinants of adherence to official recommendations and identify ways to improve communications to increase uptake of precautionary measures during future flu pandemics. With colleagues from University College London, we will conduct focus groups with members of the public (including people at high risk of contracting flu), interviews and focus groups with professional and non-professional healthcare workers, and an online survey with previous users of the National Pandemic Flu Service.

Duration: 2013 –2015

Work packages:
1. Predictors of scepticism and vaccine uptake during the H1N1 pandemic (Lead: King’s College)
2. Use of the National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS) and antivirals during the H1N1 pandemic (Lead: Imperial College)
3. Factors that influence vaccination and antiviral uptake (Leads: University of Southampton and UCL)
4. The rapid spread of information via online social media during a pandemic (Leads: Northumbria University and University of Sussex)
5. Addressing barriers to vaccination and antiviral uptake (Leads: University of Southampton and UCL)
6. Dissemination (Lead: Public Health England)

Related research groups

Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology (CCCAHP)
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