The perceptions of and disincentives for receiving influenza A (H1N1) vaccines among chronic renal disease patients in Hong Kong

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Abstract

This article aims to demonstrate the perceptions of patients with chronic renal disease in Hong Kong towards the new vaccine for influenza A (H1N1), as well as the main disincentives. Little is known about the views of chronically ill patients on the H1N1 vaccine and even less about the underlying factors that motivate its low acceptance by this group. To explore these issues, this study adopted a qualitative approach by conducting in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 40 chronic renal disease patients in Hong Kong from December 2009 to March 2010. The participants were selected by purposive sampling from a patient with renal disease self-help alliance, which has over 4000 members with chronic renal diseases coming from nine public hospitals. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis. Although vaccination was portrayed as one of the most effective methods to prevent influenza A (H1N1), chronically ill participants in this study showed reluctance towards it. Six disincentives for them to receive H1N1 vaccines were identified: perceptions of H1N1 vaccine as unsafe, cultural perception of vaccines as harmful, the belief that seasonal influenza vaccines provided immunity against influenza A (H1N1), inaccessibility for receiving the H1N1 vaccine, worries in contracting infectious diseases from vaccination locations and the financial cost. As chronically ill patients are one of the high-risk groups who can suffer from severe complications from influenza, understanding the underlying social, cultural and perceptual factors that prevent their immunisation is crucial to the design of a public health policy responsive to their needs.

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