Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 852–861 | Cite as

Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Low-Income Women Considered High Priority for Receiving the Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Vaccine

  • Catherine A. Boyd
  • Julie A. Gazmararian
  • Winifred Wilkins Thompson


The primary purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of low-income women considered high priority for receiving the novel influenza A (H1N1) vaccine to improve communication in emergency preparedness and response. Researchers sought to identify the factors that affect this high priority population’s ability to successfully comply with vaccination recommendations. By utilizing an existing communication framework through the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children (WIC) they were able to document the systems and infrastructure needed to foster constructive responses in a sustainable manner in the future. Six focus group discussions with WIC clients (n = 56) and 10 individual interviews with staff members were conducted at two WIC clinics in Georgia (1 urban and 1 rural). Data were collected after the 2009–2010 influenza season and analyzed using thematic analysis. Knowledge and attitudes regarding H1N1 differed among participants with regard to perceived severity and perceived risk of influenza illness. Participants identified several barriers and motivators to receiving the vaccination, as well as information needs, sources, and information-seeking behaviors. Similarities emerged among both WIC clients and staff members regarding impressions of H1N1 and the vaccine’s use, suggesting that while the information may be provided, it is not effectively understood or accepted. Comprehensive education, policy and planning development regarding pandemic influenza and vaccine acceptance among low-income women is necessary, including improvements in risk communication messages and identifying effective methods to disseminate trusted information to these high priority groups.


H1N1 influenza vaccine Immunization Health beliefs and attitudes Health behaviors Preparedness and emergency response Risk communication 



Grant funding was provided by the CDC through the Emory Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (Emory PERRC). Support was gained from the Georgia Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) office and each participating clinic.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine A. Boyd
    • 1
  • Julie A. Gazmararian
    • 2
  • Winifred Wilkins Thompson
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences CenterWinship Cancer Institute at Grady Health System, Emory University School of Medicine AtlantaUSA

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