Virtual Education Program Feasible in Improving Vaccination Knowledge, Trust Among Black Older Adults

Drug Topics JournalDrug Topics January/February 2024
Volume 168
Issue 01

Study results outlined in a poster at ASHP Midyear 2023 revealed that virtual delivery education programs could contribute to a more inclusive and accessible health care information landscape for Black older adults.

A poster presented at this year’s American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exposition demonstrated that both in-person (IP) and virtual delivery (VD) educational programs improved knowledge and trust in vaccination among Black older adults.1

Based on study results, investigators determined that VD programs were feasible potential substitutes for IP education in senior centers serving the demographic.

In this descriptive comparative analysis, investigators aimed to examine and compare IP and VD formats of educational sessions in delivering information about and enhancing trust in vaccines among Black older adults. Investigators leaned on learnings from prior research, namely the MOTIVATE trial conducted in 2017 and a subsequent study conducted in 2021, to shape the current study.2

To study the impact of IP education sessions, investigators compared effects across 2 groups, including one that received information delivered by a pharmacist and another that received information delivered by a peer leader. Investigators developed 3 modalities to study the effects of VD education sessions, listed as virtual pharmacist-led, virtual peer leader–led, and virtual peer–plus (VPEER-Plus), which involved a peer leader and a pharmacist to answer post-session queries.

Investigators recruited 287 participants, the average (SD) age of whom was 74.8 (8.94) years, for the IP sample, and 103 participants, the average (SD) age of whom was 72.5 (17.3) years, for the VD sample, from “Center in the Park”, a nationally accredited nonprofit senior center in Northwest Philadelphia. The IP participants had a similar percentage of females (80.5% vs 82.8%), a lower representation of Black or African American individuals (63.8% vs 94.3%), and a lower proportion of college graduates (21.6% vs 27.6%) compared to the VD participants.

Out of the IP sample, 140 participated in peer leader sessions and 147 participated in pharmacist sessions, and out of the VD sample, 87 participated in the VPEER-Plus modality. Investigators noted that the comparative analysis focused on the results from the VPEER-Plus modality because it encompassed the majority of participants in the VD sample.

Survey assessments were administered to participants before, immediately after, and 1 month after the sessions were conducted to track retention rates of knowledge. The outcomes included knowledge scores on vaccination, measured by the number of correct responses to questions regarding disease knowledge, and trust levels towards vaccination and health care providers. Although the feasibility of the VD format was assessed, study authors wrote that its results should not be interpreted as measures of effectiveness.

Data gleaned from the surveys revealed that knowledge and trust scores increased post-program for participants in both IP and VD educational programs, as well as that these increases were sustained at the one-month follow up.

Results from the current study determine that VD education programs are feasible in promoting vaccination and improving health literacy among Black older adults and could contribute to a more inclusive and accessible landscape of health care information for the demographic.

1. Namvar T, Sheth S, McCoy M, Cunningham R, Pizzi L. Comparative evaluation of educational sessions on vaccination & preventable diseases in an older adult population. Presented at: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exhibition; December 3-7, 2023; Anaheim, CA. Poster 4-027.
2. Prioli KM, Akincigil A, Namvar T, et al. Addressing racial inequality and its effects on vaccination rate: A trial comparing a pharmacist and peer educational program (MOTIVATE) in diverse older adults. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2023;29(8):970-980. doi:10.18553/jmcp.2023.29.8.970
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