In December 2009, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family conducted a telephone survey to determine vaccine coverage among adults and children. Health planners wanted to use the survey to help measure the extent to which high risk target group populations had been able to access and obtain the H1N1 vaccine and the projected percentage of residents in the target groups who had received it or wanted to receive it at the time. Input from the survey was instrumental in planning the mass H1N1 vaccination campaign.
With the help of a public research firm, the state surveyed 801 randomly selected adults. Of these people, 235 respondents also provided information about a child in the household aged 6 months to 17 years who had been vaccinated.
The survey was based on questions from CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) as well as additional questions, and was pilot tested before being administered to the public.
Survey questions included the form of vaccine received, whether those who had not yet been vaccinated planned to get the shot for themselves or their children, reasons for not getting vaccinated, what respondents were doing to prevent H1N1, and where respondents went to get their health information.
The survey allowed planners to determine quickly the population's experiences with vaccination, as well as people's attitudes about vaccination and their preferred sources of information. Overall, results of the telephone survey showed that 16% of the respondents were vaccinated, and 32% of those with children said their child had been vaccinated. Vaccine shortages at the time were one of the main reasons why people who wanted to get the flu shot had not yet been vaccinated (19%), as well as not being in the priority groups (16%). For those respondents who did not want vaccinations, the majority (30%) cited that they were "not concerned about H1N1", while others cited safety concerns (20%).
The survey results, which were very timely, helped to shape planning for future steps in the vaccination campaign. For instance, when planners learned that vaccine safety was a key reason why some people were choosing not to be vaccinated or have their children vaccinated, they made sure to tailor messages that addressed this issue.
Planners had also been planning to create a radio ad encouraging H1N1 vaccination - however after learning that 51% of the respondents relied on television for their health information, they decided to make a television ad instead. (Only 3% of the respondents said radio was one of the sources they looked to most for information.)
Survey results also revealed that in terms of prevention methods, 77% of the respondents used hand washing as their main prevention method while only 15% said they were being vaccinated - this insight underscored the need to step up efforts to inform people about the importance of being vaccinated.