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Student: Heath Lash
Supervisors: Robert Weir (Public Health Physician), Cheryl Brunton (Public Health Physician), Lance Jennings (Virologist)



This report presents key findings from the pneumococcal component of the National Influenza and Pneumococcal Immunisation Attitudes Survey (NIPIAS) and compares these data with that collected as part of the pneumococcal vaccination campaign conducted by Pegasus Health during 2000/2001. Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards pneumococcal immunisation in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Christchurch were assessed in the NIPIAS study. Comparison between these study regions was conducted when appropriate.


Health care provider data from NIPIAS.
There was high agreement among GPs and practice nurses concerning the belief that pneumococcal immunisation prevented patients from getting pneumococcal pneumonia and similar proportions believed healthy people can get pneumococcal pneumonia (though this was lower in the practice nurse group). Only 51% of GPs and 60% of practice nurses disagreed with the statement "healthy older people do not need the pneumococcal injection as they rarely get sick." Practice nurses differed by region in their response to the statement "people can get pneumococcal pneumonia from the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine" with Canterbury practice nurses having the higher proportion disagreeing with this statement (96%).

The two main methods identified to improve pneumococcal immunisation coverage were having a subsidy for the vaccine and having clearer immunisation guidelines.

Data from the 65 and over component of NIPIAS.
The importance of a provider recommendation was emphasised in these study results with 64% saying they would have the pneumococcal pneumonia injection if their GP recommended it.

Over the four study regions, 3% of respondents reported ever having had the pneumococcal pneumonia injection. Christchurch respondents had the highest self-reported proportion vaccinated (6%).


There was room for improvement concerning knowledge and attitudes towards pneumococcal immunisation in all three study groups. Despite the Pegasus immunisation campaign there was little evidence of improved knowledge as a result of that campaign. A subsidy for the pneumococcal immunisation and clearer immunisation guidelines were seen as strategies that would result in improvement in pneumococcal coverage levels.

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