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Health-Related Internet Use and Uptake of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine among Adults in the United States: An Analysis of the 2014 National Health Interview Survey Data
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Immunization against influenza is effective in preventing its seasonal outbreaks. However, lack of access to vaccines, poor knowledge and misconception of vaccine safety are among the major deterrents to the use of seasonal influenza vaccine in the US. Because of the emergence of the Internet as an important source of health information and a medium of care delivery, its use for health purposes was hypothesized to influence influenza vaccination. In a design-based analysis of data from 36,697 participants in the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, the association between health-related Internet use and the odds of uptake of seasonal influenza vaccines among US adults was investigated. Furthermore, the difference between older adults (aged 65+) and the general adult population was evaluated in this regard. Using multiple logistic regression, the odds of influenza vaccination were examined for five variables representing use of Internet for health purposes and other covariates. The rates of influenza vaccine use were higher in older adults (68.6%) than in the combined adult population. Among both groups, rate of performance of each of the five activities related to the use of Internet for health purposes, except use of online group chat to learn about health topics, was higher among vaccine users. Filling prescriptions online and communicating with health providers via email significantly increased the odds of accepting the vaccine for both adult groups. Searching health information on the Internet and scheduling medical appointments online were associated with significant increases in the odds of accepting the vaccine only when all the adults were considered. Searching health information on the Internet and scheduling medical appointments online among older adults, as well as use of online group chat to learn about health topics in all the two adult populations, were not significantly associated with odds of influenza vaccine uptake. Influenza vaccination among US adults was significantly influenced by use of Internet to obtain health information and to gain access to health services. Policy makers need to consider the importance of greater and more effective use of the Internet to successfully promote uptake of seasonal influenza vaccine.
Dabo, Bashir (2016). Health-Related Internet Use and Uptake of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine among Adults in the United States: An Analysis of the 2014 National Health Interview Survey Data. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from