Objective: To determine influenza (flu) vaccination status among the mentally ill population and identify factors associated with vaccination status.
Method: A non-interventional, cross-sectional study was conducted. A self-administered survey to investigate the vaccination status and perceptions related to flu vaccine was administered between October 2011-January 2012 in an outpatient psychiatry clinic that served the indigent, severely mentally ill population of Alabama. All statistical analyses were based upon a significance level of 0.05.
Results: Of the 736 patients invited, 302 participated (41%). Only 28.4% were vaccinated in 2010-2011 and 24.2% had been vaccinated at the time of the survey for 2011-2012. Respondents who had private health insurance, received a recommendation from healthcare providers, and who perceived a greater degree of vaccine effectiveness were more likely to obtain flu vaccination while respondents who had education beyond high school and were more in agreement that they can get the flu from the vaccine were less likely to obtain flu vaccination. All of the above factors accounted for 26.7% of vaccination decisions.
Conclusions: The flu vaccination rate among this study's population was lower than the general population. Interventions targeting the above factors should help increase vaccination rates among the mentally ill population.