Objective: To examine illness/vaccination perceptions of and intentions to vaccinate for seasonal influenza (SI) and 2009 H1N1 in the college setting.
Participants: 1190 adults [M=23.5 years (SD=9.5)] from a university in the North-Eastern U.S.
Methods: We deployed a web-based survey via campus email just prior to the 2009 H1N1 vaccine release.
Results: Younger adults (18-24 years) had lesser understanding of the difference between influenza types, and they reported less regular and current SI vaccination compared to older adults (25-64 years). Younger respondents perceived lesser likelihood of illness from, but attributed greater severity to H1N1 versus SI. Regularity of SI vaccination and perceived vaccine efficacy were the strongest predictors of intent to vaccinate against H1N1, followed by perceived likelihood of illness and confidence in what experts know about vaccine safety.
Conclusions: Young adults in college may require additional information during novel influenza pandemics. Measuring perceptions and past vaccination behaviors may facilitate targeting of preventive efforts in the college setting.