Parents do not have an influenza vaccine type preference for their children, a recent study found. Using parental-reported data for the 2014‒2015 and 2015‒2016 influenza seasons, researchers calculated the proportions of vaccinated children aged 2‒17 years whose parents preferred live, attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), or had no preference, and the proportions that were vaccinated with other than the preferred type of vaccine. They found:
- For the 2014‒2015 and 2015‒2016 seasons, 55.2% and 53.7%, respectively, of vaccinated children had parents who reported no preferences for either IIV or LAIV.
- The percentage who preferred LAIV was 22.7% and 21.7% and IIV was 22.1% and 24.7%.
- The most common reason reported by parents for preferring LAIV was the child’s fear of needles (71.0%) and for preferring IIV was belief that the shot if more effective (29.0%).
Santibanez TA, Kahn KE, Bridges CB. Do parents prefer inactivated or live attenuated influenza vaccine for their children? [Published online ahead of print October 16, 2018]. Vaccine. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.10.042.
This flu season sees a return of the LAIV as an available vaccine for children. Overall as a vaccine it is less effective for A strains and more effective for B strains. Certainly, fear of needles is real, but I believe that most parents want the most effective vaccine for their children. There are a large number of children that receive no influenza vaccine and more choices can help to decrease this number. — John Russell, MD
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