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Parent Intent and Willingness to Immunize Children Against Influenza in the Pediatric Emergency Department

Hart, Rebecca J. MD; Paul, Ronald I. MD; Levine, Alex BS; Sikes, Kendra EIT; Bryant, Kristina MD; Stevenson, Michelle D. MD, MS

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001869
Original Articles

Objectives To determine rates of influenza immunization among children treated in a pediatric emergency department (ED) and to ascertain parent willingness for children to receive influenza vaccine (IV) in the ED.

Methods Interviews were conducted with parents of children 6 months or older evaluated in the ED for minor illness or injury. Demographic data, IV history, and intent and willingness to receive future IV were recorded during the summer of 2013. Participants were contacted in March 2014 to assess IV status, barriers to obtaining IV, and willingness to obtain IV in the ED. Chart review determined number of patients who were at high risk.

Results Of 457 families approached, 285 (62%) were enrolled. Two hundred forty-two (85%) intended to vaccinate; 83% reported willingness to receive IV at a future ED visit. Common reasons for not receiving IV were concerns about adverse effects (31%) and lack of time or interest (24%). Of the 224 participants (79%) reached in follow-up, 112 (50%) had received IV in the prior season. Among those who did not receive IV, 65 (66%) had intended to vaccinate, and 54 (55%) indicated they would have accepted IV in the ED. Fifty-three (54%) of unvaccinated patients at follow-up had high risk of influenza complications.

Conclusions Our data support an IV program in the pediatric ED as a means of increasing vaccination rates, particularly among high-risk patients. Parents are often concerned about adverse effects of IV, and providers should target education in this area.

From the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Rebecca J. Hart, MD, MSc, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville, 571 S Floyd St, Suite 300, Louisville, KY 40202 (e-mail:

Online date: June 17, 2019

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