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Many Parents Are Open to Public Health Settings for H1N1 Flu Shots


 

Major Finding: 32% of parents preferred only primary care providers, 14% would accept any of the settings, 11% would accept any setting except retail locations, and 10% would accept only PCPs or schools.

Data Source: A survey of 1,678 parents asked if they would consider getting their child's 2009 H1N1 influenza shot in one of four settings: health departments, schools, local retail locations, or primary care providers.

Disclosures: None was reported.

ATLANTA — Parents prefer to have their children receive the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine in the primary care setting, but many are open to schools and other venues, according to an August 2009 national survey.

The findings have implications for vaccine delivery in general and, in particular, for future mass immunization efforts, said Sarah Clark of the division of general pediatrics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The survey of parents—the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health—may be the first assessment of public acceptance of various settings for H1N1 flu vaccination for children.

The survey included the following question: “In which of these settings would you consider getting your child(ren) vaccinated against H1N1 influenza?” The 1,678 respondents chose from the following options: health departments, schools, local retail locations, and primary care providers. All respondents were asked the question, including the 29% who indicated they definitely or probably would not vaccinate their child against H1N1 flu.

The most preferred setting was the primary care provider's office, with 82% responding “yes,” 11% “not sure,” and 7% “no.” School vaccination clinics were the second most preferred venue: 43% said “yes”; 23%, “not sure”; and 34%, “no.”

Health department clinics came in third (34% “yes,” 21% “not sure,” 45% “no”), and retail settings were last (24% “yes,” 27% “not sure,” 49% “no”).

When responses were aggregated across the settings, they revealed that 32% preferred only primary care providers, 14% would accept any of the settings, 11% would accept any setting except retail locations, and 10% would accept only the primary care setting or schools.

Ms. Clark emphasized that the survey identified only intentions, which can change. Moreover, it did not capture other settings, such as emergency departments.

Models for vaccinating in alternative settings exist in several states, Ms. Clark said at the conference sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, Rhode Island and Hawaii developed a system for H1N1 flu vaccination whereby school-aged children were vaccinated at school, and pediatricians were asked not to vaccinate them in the office setting. (They did vaccinate children not yet in school.)

“The definition of the school versus pediatrician role worked well in both states, and this model is a nice example of how public health and medicine can work together to provide broad access to vaccines for all children, without sacrificing clinical capacity,” she said.

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