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CMAJ. 2003 Jan 7;168(1):39-41.

Factors influencing childhood influenza immunization.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont.


Following the launch of a publicly funded influenza immunization program for all residents of Ontario over the age of 6 months, we evaluated 203 parents of children who presented to our emergency department between January and March of the following year (2001). Overall, 54 (27%) of the children had been vaccinated. Parents of non-immunized children were more likely to believe that immunization resulted in a flu-like illness (42% v. 17%; p = 0.001), caused side effects that were more severe than having influenza (36% v. 17%; p = 0.010) and weakened the immune system (52% v. 24%; p < 0.001). Parents of both immunized and non-immunized children incorrectly identified gastrointestinal symptoms as symptoms of influenza. The primary reason for deciding against immunization was the belief that their child was not at risk. After adjustment, children with a chronic disease were more likely than those without a chronic disease to be immunized (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 4.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8-12.6). Children of parents who discussed immunization with a physician were more likely to be immunized than those who had not discussed immunization with a physician (OR 6.8, 95% CI 2.4-19.2).

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