Volume 35, Issue 30, Pages 3691-3796 (27 June 2017)
Factors associated with parental acceptance of seasonal influenza vaccination for their children – A telephone survey in the adult population in Germany
Original Research Article
Lena Boes, Birte Boedeker, Patrick Schmich, Matthias Wetzstein, Ole Wichmann, Cornelius Remschmidt
Influenza vaccination of children with underlying chronic diseases is currently recommended in Germany, but targeting all children constitutes an alternative approach to control seasonal influenza. To inform the modelling of vaccination impact and possible communication activities, we aimed to assess among parents the acceptance of universal childhood vaccination against seasonal influenza and possible modifiers.
We conducted a telephone survey in households in Germany using random digit dialing. We interviewed parents with children aged <18 years by constructing three hypothetical scenarios in subsequent order: (1) hearing about the influenza vaccination recommendation through the media, (2) the vaccine being recommended by a physician, and (3) being informed about the availability of the vaccine as a nasal spray. We calculated the proportion of parents who would immunize their child and used univariable and multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with influenza vaccination intention.
Response was between 22 and 46%. Of 518 participants, 74% were female, mean age was 41.3 years. Participants had on average 1.6 children with a mean age of 8.9 years. In scenario 1, 52% of parents would immunize their child, compared to 64% in scenario 2 (p<0.01) and to 45% in scenario 3 (p=0.20). Factors independently associated with vaccination acceptance in scenario 1 were previous influenza vaccination of the child or parent (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 4.5 and 8.6, respectively), perceived severity of influenza (aOR=5.1) and living in eastern Germany (aOR=2.4).
If seasonal influenza vaccination was recommended for all children, more than half of the parents would potentially agree to immunize their child. Involving physicians in future information campaigns is essential to achieve high uptake. As intranasal vaccine administration is non-invasive and easily done, it remains unclear why scenario 3 was associated with low acceptance among parents, and the underlying reasons should be further explored.