Influenza is a major cause of respiratory morbidity worldwide. It poses a risk of complications in children with cardiac disease. Influenza vaccine is considered the most effective and safe means of preventing the disease. The aims of this study were to determine the rate of influenza vaccination in children with cardiac disease and to identify the reasons for failure to vaccinate in this patient population.Methods:
The study group included 186 children and their parents who attended the cardiology institute of a tertiary pediatric medical center between September and October 2012. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire covering demographics, clinical features, influenza vaccination, receipt of advice from medical professionals regarding vaccination and personal knowledge about and attitude toward the influenza vaccine.Results:
Median age of the children was 7.6 years. Thirty-six percent had been vaccinated in the previous influenza season. Vaccination was unrelated to the child’s age or sex or the parents’ education. Factors significantly affecting the decision of the parents to have their child vaccinated were their knowledge, beliefs and conceptions about the vaccine and their receipt of a recommendation to do so from the pediatrician or cardiologist (P < 0.001).Conclusions:
The rate of vaccination against influenza is low in children with heart disease. Major factors encouraging vaccination are proper parental knowledge and the recommendation of the primary physician or cardiologist. Medical professionals caring for this patient population should be alerted to the need to routinely counsel parents on the importance of influenza vaccination.