COVID-19 PANDEMIC IMPACT ON SEASONAL FLU VACCINATION: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY

Ioannis Kopsidas, Evangelia Chorianopoulou, Eleni Kourkouni, Christos Triantafyllou, Nafsika-Maria Molocha, Markela Koniordou, Stefania Maistreli, Christina - Grammatiki Tsopela, Stefania Maroudi-Manta, Dimitrios Filippou, Theoklis E. Zaoutis, Georgia Kourlaba

Pneumon, 2021 Jun

Abstract

Objectives: To assess the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on the seasonal influenza vaccination attitudes in Greece and to identify factors associated with a positive change in participant’s choice to vaccinate against flu.
Methods: A cross-sectional nationwide survey (n=1,004) was conducted during between April 28, 2020 to May 03, 2020 using a mixed methodology for data collection: Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and Computer Assisted web Interviewing (CAWI). A proportionate stratified by region systematic sampling procedure was used to ensure a nationally representative sample of the urban/rural population. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire consisting of four parts:1) demographics;2) knowledge about COVID-19;3) attitudes toward COVID-19; and 4) practices to control COVID-19 and vaccination against flu.


Results: 66.3% (n=665) of responders had not been vaccinated for seasonal influenza during the 2019-20 season, the season prior to the COVID19 pandemic. A 21.8% of them had a positive switch and decided to vaccinate (n=145) the upcoming flu season 2020-21. Factors independently associated with intention to vaccinate in the group of people that had not vaccinated the previous flu season were age over 65 years, belief that vaccination against the flu is considered preventive against the spread of the coronavirus, not believing that coronavirus is lab-developed and not believing that the pandemic will come to an end when a large percentage of the population will be infected.
Conclusion: The factors that are affecting the general public in favor of seasonal vaccination can be used to design effective strategies to increase seasonal influenza vaccination uptake in view of the upcoming COVID-19 waves.