To determine the proportion of preschool-aged patients attending two inner-city hospital pediatric emergency departments (EDs) who were eligible for measles vaccination, to describe their demographic and clinical characteristics, and to assess the performance of the ED immunization programs that were implemented during a measles outbreak in vaccinating eligible children.Design
Pediatric EDs of two urban hospitals in Chicago, Ill, in 1989.Participants
Children 6 months to 5 years of age seen in the EDs.Intervention
None.Main Outcome Measures
The proportion of preschool-aged patients attending the two EDs who were eligible for measles vaccination and the proportion of vaccine-eligible children who were given measles vaccine.Results
Of 508 ED patients at hospital A and 255 patients at hospital B, 18% and 29%, respectively, were considered to be vaccine eligible. The most common discharge diagnoses of eligible patients were viral syndrome, otitis media, and minor trauma. Of vaccine-eligible patients, 59% at hospitals A and B were not vaccinated in the ED. At hospital B, patients with an infectious or respiratory disease diagnosis were less likely to be vaccinated than those with other diagnoses (P<.05).Conclusions
Many children seen in these EDs were eligible for measles vaccination, and many eligible patients were not vaccinated. During community outbreaks of measles, optimal vaccination programs in pediatric EDs could increase vaccination coverage among inner-city preschool-aged children who may have limited access to health care.