Addressing racial inequality and its effects on vaccination rate: A trial comparing a pharmacist and peer educational program (MOTIVATE) in diverse older adults

Katherine M Prioli, Ayse Akincigil, Tarlan Namvar, Jocelyn Mitchell-Williams, Jason J Schafer, Renee C Cunningham, Lynn Fields-Harris, Megan McCoy, Ronald Vertsman, Ashley Guesnier, Laura T Pizzi

Publication Date: 08/01/2023


BACKGROUND: The mortality, morbidity, health care utilization, and cost attributable to vaccine-preventable diseases are substantial for those aged 50 years and older. Although vaccination is the most cost-effective strategy to prevent common infectious diseases in older adults, vaccination rates remain below US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention benchmarks, especially among racial minorities. Historical mistrust, structural racism within the US medical system, and misinformation contributed to lower immunization rates among minorities, especially Black Americans. To address the critical need to increase knowledge and trust in vaccination, 2 community-based educational interventions were tested: a pharmacist-led didactic session (PHARM) and a peer-led educational workshop (PEER).

OBJECTIVE: To determine and compare the effectiveness and costs of PEER and PHARM community-based education models in improving knowledge and trust in vaccinations. METHODS: The Motivating Older adults to Trust Information about Vaccines And Their Effects (MOTIVATE) study was a cluster-randomized trial conducted in the greater Delaware Valley Region sites from 2017 to 2020. The included sites (7 senior centers, 3 housing units, 1 church, and 1 neighborhood family center) predominantly served Black communities. Participants were randomized to either PHARM or PEER sessions covering influenza, pneumococcal disease, herpes zoster, and beliefs related to vaccines. Peer leaders facilitated smaller workshops (5-10 participants), whereas pharmacists conducted larger didactic lectures with 15-43 participants. Outcomes were captured through a self-administered survey at baseline, postprogram, and 1 month after the program. Intervention costs were measured in 2017 US dollars.

RESULTS: 287 participants were included. Their mean age was 74.5 years (SD = 8.94), 80.5% were women, 64.2% were Black, and 48.1% completed some college. Knowledge scores within groups for all 3 diseases significantly increased postprogram for both PEER and PHARM and were sustained at 1 month. Between-group knowledge differences were significant only for influenza (PEER participants had significantly larger improvement vs PHARM). Vaccination trust significantly increased in both groups. Total program costs were $11,411 for PEER and $5,104 for PHARM.

CONCLUSIONS: Both interventions significantly improved knowledge and trust toward vaccination and retained their effect 1 month after the program. The 2 effective community-based education models should be expanded to ensure timely and trusted information is available to educate older adults about vaccine-preventable diseases. Further research is encouraged to assess the long-term cost-effectiveness of these models’ utilization on a larger scale.


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