August 01, 2011
2 min read

Low percentage of preschool children received recent influenza vaccination

Rosenberg KD. MMWR. 2011;60(29):981-984.

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In Oregon, fewer than 40% of children aged 2 years received an influenza vaccination during the most recent influenza season.

Based on these figures, CDC officials are emphasizing the need for health care provider-based and community-based strategies to increase influenza vaccination coverage among this population.

“Strategies that target children with interruptions in health insurance coverage, children without a pediatrician as a regular health care provider, and children of mothers with concerns about vaccinations are needed to increase influenza vaccination coverage in Oregon,” the researchers wrote in a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the current study, CDC officials pooled data from the Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey follow-back survey (Oregon PRAMS-2) between 2006 and 2008 to investigate influenza vaccination status and socio-demographic and health care correlates among children aged 2 years.

Results indicated that 37.7% of 1,489 mothers reported their children received an influenza vaccination during the most recent influenza season.

Based on a multivariable-adjusted analysis, factors positively associated with children’s recent influenza vaccination included vaccination in the previous year, receipt of all recommended immunizations, uninterrupted health insurance coverage and mothers’ unmarried status. In addition, the only factor negatively associated with vaccination was visiting a family doctor, rather than a pediatrician, according to the study.

Timothy J. Cunningham, ScD, Lieutenant, US Public Health Service
Timothy J. Cunningham, ScD, Lieutenant, US Public Health Service

Among children who had not received a recent influenza vaccination, the most common concern about vaccination expressed by mothers was that too many vaccines are given at a time.

“Preschool children are very vulnerable to influenza and vaccination is the best way to keep your child healthy, safe, and prevent flu-related complications and hospitalizations,” Timothy J. Cunningham, ScD, Lieutenant, US Public Health Service, told Infectious Disease News.

CDC officials said these findings can be attributed toward local action in Oregon. “In light of the estimated influenza vaccine coverage of 37.7% in this study, the correlates of influenza vaccination identified, and the concerns about influenza vaccination expressed by mothers, two types of strategies are warranted to increase influenza vaccination coverage in this population. First, health care provider-based strategies that assess and increase maternal knowledge regarding vaccination should be considered. Second, community-based strategies aimed at providing all children access to influenza vaccine and all other ACIP-recommended immunizations should be examined, including children eligible for free vaccinations through the Oregon Vaccines for Children Program,” CDC officials wrote.

These data were specific to Oregon and may not be representative of other populations, Cunningham said.


James H. Brien, DO
James H. Brien, DO

This large Oregon State Health Department survey sheds some additional light on the dynamics of vaccine acceptance or rejection by parents answering the questions. Most of the points made support what practitioners have known by experience, and it's always good to see data to verify our opinions.

– James H. Brien, DO

Infectious Diseases News Editorial Board member

Disclosure: Dr. Brien reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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