Student Poster

Combining Care: Educating Patients with Opioid Use Disorder on Benefits of Vaccinations

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Background: Vaccinations prevent almost 6 million deaths worldwide and reduce the incidence of several cancers. The Vanderbilt Maternal Addiction Recovery Program (VMARP) serves antepartum and postpartum women with substance use disorder, primarily opioid use disorder. Data collected from this clinic in 2021 suggests that these patients have low vaccination rates, with fewer than 50% of surveyed patients having received common vaccinations. VMARP patients consistently cited lack of knowledge as the reason for vaccine refusal. The aim of this project was to educate 80% of clinic patients about the benefits of HPV, hepatitis A and B, measles/mumps/rubella, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, and influenza vaccines. The project was designed by students from the Vanderbilt University Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy as part of the Vanderbilt Program in Interprofessional Learning (VPIL).

Methods: The authors designed an educational intervention on myths and information about common vaccines. The intervention was administered from January 13, 2021 to March 31, 2021. Patients rated their knowledge about vaccines on a Likert scale from 1 to 5 (where 1=no knowledge and 5=expert knowledge) before and after the intervention, and patient vaccination history was reviewed. Data was recorded in a secure database.

Results: At the conclusion of the study, 19 patients had received the intervention, representing 90.4% of patients. The mean age of participants was 27.9 years (σ=4.2); 52.6% of patients were pregnant. The mean Likert score on knowledge about vaccines prior to the intervention was 2.47 out of 5 (σ=1.35), and the mean score after the intervention was 3.63 out of 5 (σ=0.9).

Conclusion: Vaccinations are an effective tool for promoting public health, but many patients exhibit vaccine hesitancy due to common myths. An educational intervention reviewing risks and benefits of recommended vaccines can improve patient understanding and may ultimately lead to improved adherence.

Reflections: The development of strategies to enhance understanding of risks and benefits of vaccines is more important than ever due to COVID-19. Dispelling common myths and spreading accurate information about vaccine safety can have a significant impact on community and public health. Additionally, providing nonjudgmental healthcare to women with substance use disorder is essential for improving maternal and child outcomes.

Andre, F. E., et al. "Vaccination greatly reduces disease, disability, death and inequity worldwide." Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 86 (2), Feb. 2008, 81-160. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.