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Support for Universal Childhood Vaccination Against Influenza Among Private Pediatric Clinics and Public Health Departments in Georgia

Pazol, Karen; Prill, Mila M.; Gazmararian, Julie A.; O'Malley, Emily M.; Jelks, Deborah; Coleman, Margaret S.; Hinman, Alan R.; Orenstein, Walter A.

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September-October 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 5 - p 393–400
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181a13951
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Recently, it has been recommended that all persons 6 months to 18 years be vaccinated annually against influenza. To assess support for this universal recommendation leading up to its implementation, a cross-sectional survey of healthcare workers at private pediatric clinics (N = 44) and public health departments (N = 75) was conducted. The survey, conducted in the state of Georgia during 2005–2006, asked about (a) support for universal childhood vaccination against influenza, (b) general and influenza-specific immunization practices in 2004–2005, and (c) types of assistance needed to implement a universal childhood recommendation. Our response rate was 70 percent for private clinics and 71 percent for public health departments. The majority of providers supported universal childhood vaccination against influenza; agreement was especially pronounced at public health departments. Public health departments employed more nurses and were more likely to have a policy of vaccinating parents along with their children; private clinics were more likely to use patient reminders or add extra hours during the influenza vaccination season. Respondents from both types of clinics indicated they would need multiple forms of assistance to implement a universal recommendation for childhood vaccination against influenza. Given the strong support for universal vaccination among healthcare workers at public health departments, these facilities may be instrumental for reaching the large number of children recently added to the recommendations. However, these facilities will need multiple forms of assistance.

This study suggests that as early as 2005–2006, healthcare workers at public health departments in Georgia expressed broad support for universal vaccination of school-age children against influenza.

Karen Pazol, PhD, MPH, is Senior Associate Director of Research Programs, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Mila M. Prill, MSPH, is Epidemiologist, P3S Corporation, and National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Julie A. Gazmararian, PhD, MPH, is Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Emily M. O'Malley, MSPH, is Biostatistician, UCB, Inc, Smyrna, Georgia.

Deborah Jelks, BS, is Assistant Director, Immunization Program, Division of Public Health, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Atlanta, Georgia.

Margaret S. Coleman, PhD, is Economist, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Alan R. Hinman, MD, MPH, is Senior Public Health Scientist, The Task Force for Global Health, Decatur, Georgia.

Walter A. Orenstein, MD, is Deputy Director for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Integrated Health Solutions Development, Global Health Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington.

Corresponding Author: Karen Pazol, PhD, MPH, School of Medicine, Emory University, Emory Vaccine Center, Room 446, Dental Bldg, 1462 Clifton Rd, NE, Atlanta, GA 30322 (kpazol@emory.edu).

The project described was supported by grant 1P20RR020735 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCRR or NIH.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.