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Strategies to improve influenza vaccination uptake

Influenza causes more hospitalisations among children than any other vaccine preventable disease in Australia, but uptake of influenza vaccine remains low. Most children who are hospitalised due to influenza have not had their influenza vaccination before becoming unwell with the virus.

Improving opportunities to vaccinate and increasing recommendations from healthcare providers have been identified as potential strategies to improve influenza vaccination uptake in a new study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The authors of the study surveyed parents of children hospitalised due to acute respiratory illness across five paediatric hospitals to identify the strongest factors associated with not receiving an influenza vaccine in 2019. Barriers to a child not being vaccinated against influenza were:

  • the parent did not receive an influenza vaccination recommendation for their child from their healthcare provider
  • the parent not remembering to book an appointment
  • the parent could not get an appointment
  • the parent thought their friends were also not vaccinating their children
  • the parent did not believe in vaccinating against influenza
  • the child is not normally vaccinated against influenza
  • the parent is not normally vaccinated against influenza.

The authors note that healthcare providers should be encouraged to recommend influenza vaccination to all patients.

Interventions including parental prompts and reminders are also likely to help parents remember to make an appointment for their children's vaccination.

Improving access by offering influenza vaccination through a broader range of avenues, reminders and increasing opportunity through extended periods of access may also help improve uptake, concluded the authors.

Read the full article here