Educating the Community on Benefits of Vaccination

New Study From TouroCOM Finds Most Health Professionals Believe Greater Vaccine Education May Increase Vaccination Compliance and Decrease Preventable Disease

Date: February 03, 2020
Atif Towheed presenting his research poster at the Annual Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) Winter Research Symposium
Atif Towheed presenting his research poster at the Annual Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) Winter Research Symposium
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Elisheva Schlam
Executive Director of Communications
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elisheva.schlam@touro.edu

New York, N.Y. – Ninety percent of health professionals believe a lack of education is the greatest barrier to patients receiving vaccinations, according to research conducted by a group of scientists from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine - Middletown. The research was presented recently at the Annual Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) Winter Research Symposium.

Researchers found that there is a need to introduce additional educational resources enabling healthcare providers to increase awareness of the benefits of vaccination among their patients. Data also showed that health professionals  believe social media as a source of medical information is a direct contributor to lack of vaccination.   

“With the increasing incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases, non-compliance to the recommended vaccination schedule tends to focus mainly on the role of patients or their caregivers,” says Atif Towheed, PhD, second year student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Towheed, along with his fellow researchers, conducted a voluntary online survey of physicians, medical students, nursing professional and allied service providers. Notably, of the respondents, 50 percent felt they need more education and training concerning vaccinations.

“New York State recently experienced one of the largest measles outbreaks since the 1990s’,” says Towheed. The cause of this outbreak, however, is multifaceted. Towheed shares that the study aims to recognize that the “views, perspectives and beliefs of healthcare providers have an impact on community vaccination practices.”

While most providers believe a lack of education leads to a resistance to receiving a vaccination, only 40 percent of respondents in the healthcare field indicated that they always discuss vaccination with their patients. Under 60 percent of respondents indicated they felt confident in discussing the benefits of vaccination with their patients.

Healthcare Providers Also Need Vaccine Education

This data indicates that while it while it is important to provide more education to community members regarding vaccination, education is also necessary for healthcare providers.

Health professionals also shared their views on the common barriers to vaccination. Research revealed that almost 90 percent of respondents believed the most significant barrier to vaccination was a lack of education. This was followed by a fear of getting sick after vaccination and parent or guardian hesitancy.

Finally, the survey found that over 88 percent of health providers believe that non-medical vaccination exemptions should not be allowed. Results varied slightly depending on a practitioner’s geographic location, with more leniency on non-medical exemptions exhibited by more urban providers. 

Towheed’s co-authors included Adetokunbo G. Shobaloju, MD, Lissette McNulty, MSN, Anna Tran, MS, and the research team’s principal investigator and project leader, Stephanie Zeszutek, DO.