July 11, 2019
2 min read

Flu vaccine uptake improves with educational handouts in waiting room

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Melissa Stockwell 2019
Melissa Stockwell

Children of parents who received a simple educational handout with information about influenza were more likely to get vaccinated by the end of the influenza season, according to the results of a randomized clinical trial published in Pediatrics.

“Influenza vaccination is something that is needed annually by everyone aged 6 months and older. However, vaccination rates for influenza are lower than for other childhood and adolescent vaccinations,” Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, an associate professor of pediatrics and population and family health at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “I think an intervention like this works well for the pediatric population and their parents because parents are often eager for information that may help them make informed decisions about their child’s health. Handouts like this work in tandem with strong provider recommendation, which we know to be incredibly important.”

Between August 2016 and March 2017, Scott and colleagues analyzed the vaccination records of children aged 6 months and younger who visited either of two pediatric clinics in New York. Parents of these children were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive usual care, an educational handout with local influenza data, or an educational handout with national influenza data. The handouts were given to parents in the waiting room before their child’s visit. The analysis included 400 parent-child dyads.

According to the researchers, parents who received either handout were more likely to get their child vaccinated by the end of the season — but not on the day of the clinic visit — compared with those who received usual care (74.9% vs. 65.4%; adjusted OR = 1.68; 95% CI, 1.06-2.67). Parents received handouts with national influenza data compared with usual care were more likely to have their child vaccinated on the day of the visit (59% vs. 52.6%; aOR = 1.79; 95% CI, 1.04-3.08) but not by the end of the season.

“What is so great about this intervention is that it is low-cost and easy to implement since it is just a one-page paper handout,” Stockwell said. “Offices can even make their own handout based on information from the CDC. In general, keeping the handout brief would be best so that busy parents can read it quickly while waiting for their child’s appointment.” – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosures: Stockwell reports being an unremunerated coinvestigator for an unrelated, investigator-initiated grant from the Pfizer Medical Education Group. All other authors report no relevant financial disclosures.