Factors associated with adults’ actions to confirm their own rubella immune status in Japan’s drive toward rubella elimination: Cross-sectional online survey of non-healthcare workers in their 20s to 40s

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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec> <jats:title>Background</jats:title> <jats:p>Rubella outbreaks occurred among adults in Japan in 2013-2014 and 2018-2019 due to immunity gaps. In response and aiming at rubella elimination by 2020, the government introduced countermeasures comprising supplementary immunization activities for voluntary testing of adult non-healthcare-related workers and vaccination of susceptible individuals. However, as of October 2020, rubella immunity testing and vaccination rates remained low. This study was conducted to identify factors associated with adults voluntarily confirming their rubella immune status, to help develop effective promotion activities for hard-to-reach and left-behind populations.</jats:p> </jats:sec><jats:sec> <jats:title>Methods</jats:title> <jats:p>In this cross-sectional study, a general population sample of non-healthcare workers aged 20-49 years in Japan completed an online survey in November 2020. Univariate analysis was performed to examine associations of specific actions taken to confirm rubella immune status with social background characteristics, knowledge of rubella, and attitude to testing and vaccination. Log binomial regression analysis was performed to explore the associations following adjustment for social background characteristics.</jats:p> </jats:sec><jats:sec> <jats:title>Results</jats:title> <jats:p>Among 1,854 respondents (927 men, 927 women), only 23.4% of men and 39.4% of women in their 20s to 40s have taken some action related to rubella prevention. Three major factors were associated with the targeted population having taken voluntary action: (1) knowing about testing for confirmation of immunity status (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 4.29 men, 2.89 women), the rubella outbreak in 2013 among men in their 20s to 40s (AOR 2.79 men, 1.64 women), and congenital rubella syndrome (AOR 1.89 men, 3.10 women); (2) having acquaintances who were vaccinated against or tested for rubella (AOR 2.98 men, 1.95 women); and (3) having a positive attitude toward influenza vaccination (AOR 2.48 men, 1.83 women). Marriage, desire for pregnancy, and having children were weakly associated with taking action.</jats:p> </jats:sec><jats:sec> <jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title> <jats:p>Currently, insufficient voluntary action is being taken by high-risk adult populations to close the identified immunity gaps. In this last mile to rubella elimination, our findings and suggested potential interventions via annual health check-ups and occupational health and public health initiatives could prove helpful in developing further countermeasures that actively promote and implement supplementary immunization activities targeting all adult generations.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

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