Parental Attitudes About Influenza Immunization and School-Based Immunization for School-Aged Children

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Objectives:Identify parental beliefs and barriers related to influenza immunization of school-aged children and acceptance of school-based influenza immunization.Methods:We conducted a cross-sectional survey of parents of elementary school-aged children in November 2008. Outcomes were receipt of influenza vaccine, acceptance of school-based immunization, and barriers to immunization.Results:Response rate was 65% (259/397). Parents reported that 26% of children had received the vaccine and 24% intended receipt. A total of 50% did not plan to immunize. Factors associated with receipt were belief that immunization is a social norm (adjusted odds ratios [AOR], 10.8; 95% CI, 2.8–41.8), belief in benefit (AOR, 7.8; CI, 1.8–33.8), discussion with a doctor (AOR, 7.0; CI, 2.9–16.8), and belief that vaccine is safe (AOR, 4.0; CI, 1.0–15.8). A total of 75% of parents would immunize their children at school if the vaccine were free, including 59% (76/129) who did not plan to immunize. Factors associated with acceptance of school-based immunization were belief in benefit (AOR, 6.1; 95% CI, 2.7–14.0), endorsement of medical setting barriers (AOR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.3–10.3), and beliefs that immunization is a social norm (AOR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.4–7.6) and that the child is susceptible to influenza (AOR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.2–5.7). Medical setting barriers were competing time demands, inconvenience, and cost; school barriers were parents' desire to be with children and competence of person delivering the vaccine.Conclusions:School-based immunization programs can increase immunization coverage by targeting parents for whom time demands and inconvenience are barriers, demonstrating that immunization is a social norm, and addressing concerns about influenza vaccine benefit and safety.

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