Edward R. Murrow College of Communication doctoral student Danielle Lee received the International Communication Association’s “Top Student-led Paper Award” in the Health Communication Division for her paper titled “Culture-centric Narratives of Influenza Vaccination among High-Risk Groups in Hong Kong.”
Lee co-wrote the paper with Crystal Li Jiang, Ph.D., from City University of Hong Kong. The study determined that despite the effectiveness of influenza vaccination, the vaccination coverage rate in Hong Kong has remained low. It has remained below the threshold necessary for building basic herd immunity, and below the target rate recommended by the World Health Organization.
Lee and Jiang researched the role culture plays in influencing the vaccination decisions of high-risk individuals. They conducted 29 in-depth interviews with people who came from high-risk groups in Hong Kong. Participants included people older than 50, pregnant women, healthcare providers, poultry workers, and people who worked in pig farming and pig-slaughtering industries. From the analysis, Lee and Jiang determined that the characteristics of collectivism, or giving a group priority over the individual, were useful in understanding how the high-risk individuals perceived the severity of influenza, their susceptibility to infection, and the barriers and benefits of taking the vaccination.
The researchers concluded that cultural considerations influence how individuals think about their healthcare behaviors. On the other hand, for practical implication, Lee and Jiang determined that socio-cultural characteristics should be respected and incorporated into healthcare campaigns to ensure effective communication.