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Public Health Rep. 2006 Mar-Apr;121(2):181-8.

Parental perspectives on influenza vaccination among children with asthma.

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Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, 50 Staniford St., Ste. 901, Boston, MA 02214, USA.



The objectives of this study were to: (1) identify modifiable factors influencing receipt of influenza vaccination among children with asthma, and (2) to evaluate the effect of heightened media attention on vaccination rates.


During November and December 2003, we interviewed parents of children with asthma about their experiences with and beliefs about influenza vaccination. We randomly selected 500 children from a study population of 2,140 children identified with asthma in a managed care organization in Massachusetts. We obtained data on influenza vaccination status from computerized medical records and determined significant factors influencing receipt of influenza vaccination.


Children were more likely to be vaccinated if their parent recalled a physician recommendation (odds ratio [OR] 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.5, 4.5), believed the vaccine worked well (OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.4, 2.8), or expressed little worry about vaccine adverse effects (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1.0, 1.6), or if the child was younger (OR 1.1 per year of age; 95% CI 1.0, 1.2). During the study period, there was heightened media attention about influenza illness and the vaccine. The influenza vaccination rate for children with asthma was 43% in 2003-04 compared with 27% in 2002-03. Comparison of weekly influenza vaccination rates in 2003-04 and 2002-03 suggested that the media attention was associated with the increase in vaccination rates.


Physician recommendations and parental education about influenza vaccine availability, effectiveness, and adverse effects are potentially important influences on influenza vaccination. Our findings suggest that media coverage of the risks of influenza was associated with a significant increase in vaccination rates.

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