November 22, 2013
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Reminders increase influenza vaccine uptake

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State immunization registries can act as an effective tool to encourage influenza vaccination during a pandemic, according to recent study findings published in the American Journal of Public Health.

“Immunization registries like [the Michigan Care Improvement Registry] are important public health tools,” Kevin Dombkowski, DrPH, a research associate professor with the University of Michigan’s Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, said in a press release. “This study shows the value of using immunization registries to prompt parents of children with a chronic condition to get that child vaccinated.”

Kevin Dombkowski

Dombkowski and colleagues identified high-risk children aged 6 months to 18 years with no record of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 (pH1N1) vaccination who were enrolled in Medicaid. Reminders to vaccinate were sent in December 2009.

They found that vaccination rates were higher among participants who received the reminder compared with children with undeliverable reminders and the control group who were not sent reminders.

Participants who received a reminder were more likely to get vaccinated with pH1N1 (OR=1.54; 95% CI, 1.49-1.59) and seasonal influenza (OR=1.79; 95% CI, 1.72-1.87) compared with participants who did not get a reminder. Of those who did not get a reminder, those with an undeliverable reminder were less likely to get vaccinated with pH1N1 (OR=0.83; 95% CI, 0.73-0.95) but more likely to get vaccinated with seasonal influenza (OR=1.21; 95% CI, 1.04-1.39) compared with controls.

“An [immunization information system]-based reminder effort conducted during the 2009 to 2010 influenza season and targeted to high-risk children was associated with increased influenza vaccination rates,” the researchers wrote. “Future initiatives should consider strategies to expand the ability to identify high-risk group for targeted immunization outreach and to improve the timeliness and completeness of influenza dose reporting during pandemic events.”

Kevin Dombkowski, DrPH, can be reached at kjd@med.umich.edu.

Disclosure: The work was funded in part by the CDC through a cooperative agreement with the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research.