Evaluating vaccine and health literacy in european prisons: A cross-sectional study
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University of Pisa Italy
ASST-Santi Paolo e Carlo
National Administration of Penitentiaries Moldova, Rep
University of Frankfurt Germany
UK Health Security Agency United Kingdom
University Hospital Centre Montpellier France
Cyprus National Addiction Authority Cyprus
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1380
Background and Objective:
Vaccination reduces the risk of getting infectious disease by increasing the body’s natural protection provided by the immunity system. Prison population should be a priority target for vaccination, but vaccine coverage is low due to several factors including high turnover and low vaccine literacy. This study is part of RISE-Vac, a 3-year EU co-funded project looking to increase vaccine literacy and uptake in prison populations across Europe. The aim is to evaluate the vaccine literacy among people living in prison (PLP) and custodial staff.

This is a cross-sectional study carried in 18 different European prisons from Italy, France, Germany, Cyprus, Moldova and UK. For each country the sample include 500 PLP and 400 custodial staff; the questionnaire comprises the following sections: lack of confidence, risk perception, general health literacy, vaccine literacy and intention to vaccinate, in addition to some demographic information. The questionnaire has been administered in local languages by trained personnel for PLP or self-administered for custodial staff.

Data collection is still ongoing; so far, we collected 142 questionnaires from PLP and staff in Italian prisons and described the principal demographic variables (age, gender, country of birth, education level, previous house and work condition for PLP). For the scores retrieved regarding the parameters described above, we found no differences except for general health literacy section where PLP showed lower scores than staff (Kruskall-wallis p-value: <0.0001).

Assessing vaccine literacy in prison population is crucial for advocacy decisions and it is a difficult-to-reach field. This is the beginning of a study that will last until 2024 with a repeated cross-sectional study design. An intervention devoted to increase vaccine and health literacy among PLPs and staff will be carried out between the two cross-sectionals and its effectiveness will be evaluated in the next survey.

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