WASHINGTON Keeping physicians up-to-date with information about
the influenza vaccine recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization
Practices affects immunization rates, according to new findings presented here.
Results of a new study from the CDC indicate that provider outreach and
education should continue because ensuring physician knowledge of current ACIP
influenza vaccination recommendations may increase vaccination recommendations
to patients. Previous research has shown that a physician recommendation for
vaccination is strongly associated with getting vaccinated.
The latest change in
influenza immunization recommendations stating
that everyone aged at least 6 months be vaccinated was published just
before the start of influenza season in August, and many physicians may not
have been aware of the change.
Therefore, Carla Black, PhD,epidemiologist at the CDC, and
colleagues assembled a panel in September to examine physicians knowledge
of recent ACIP recommendations and physician characteristics associated with
recommending influenza vaccination.
The study, a cross-sectional online survey, consisted of 493
pediatricians, obstetrician/gynecologists, internists and family/general
practitioners from the American Medical Associations master file and
other lists. The panelists were asked the following questions:
- Which patients were included in the 2010
ACIP influenza vaccination recommendation?
- Which patients will they recommend vaccination to in the 2010-11
- Do they receive annual influenza immunization?
- What are their beliefs about influenza immunization?
Black and colleagues found that 64% of physicians surveyed knew that all
patients aged at least 6 months were recommended for vaccination. However, 49%
of physicians incorrectly believed that children aged younger than 6 months
were recommended for vaccination.
We recruited nearly equal numbers of each specialty, but when we
weighted the estimates, internists and general/family practitioners accounted
for the majority of the sample. Most of the respondents work on a group
setting, were male and between the ages of 40 and 49 years, and were white or
of another race, mostly Asian, Black said during her presentation at the
45th Annual National Immunization Conference.
Of the physicians who treat adults, 62% indicated that they recommend
influenza vaccination to all adults. In multivariable analysis, physician
characteristics significantly associated with correctly recommending
vaccination to adults included knowledge of ACIP recommendations (OR=8.6; 95%
CI, 4.8-15.4) and personal vaccination during the 2009-2010 season (OR=3.3; 95%
Among the physicians who treat children, 78% indicated that they
recommend influenza vaccination to all children aged at least 6 months.
Knowledge of ACIP recommendations (OR=5.8; 95% CI, 2.4-14.5) and personal
vaccination (OR=6.2; 95% CI, 2.2-17.8) were also significantly associated with
recommending vaccination to children based on current ACIP recommendations.
Pediatricians were more likely (OR=3.6; 95% CI, 1.2-10.6) and internists
less likely (OR=0.2; 95% CI, 0.1-0.6) to recommend vaccination to children
compared with family/general practitioners.
Pediatricians are more likely than other specialties to know about
new recommendations for children, Black said.
Logistic regression modeling was used to determine physician
characteristics associated with recommending influenza vaccination.
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