Who Knew?

Awareness of Being Recommended for Influenza Vaccination Among US Adults

Published in: Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, v. 6, no. 4, July 2012, p. 284-290

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2011

by Jürgen Maurer, Katherine M. Harris, Andrew M. Parker

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BACKGROUND: Starting with the 2010–2011 influenza season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual influenza vaccination to all people aged 6 months and older unless contraindicated. OBJECTIVES: To measure perceived influenza vaccination recommendation status among US adults (n = 2122) and its association with socio-demographic characteristics and recommendation status during the 2009–2010 pandemic influenza season. METHODS: We analyze nationally representative data from longitudinal Internet surveys of US adults conducted in November–December 2009 and September–October 2010. RESULTS: During the 2010–2011 vaccination season, 46·2 percent (95%-CI: 43·3–49·1%) of US adults correctly reported to be covered by a government recommendation for influenza vaccination. Awareness of being covered by a government influenza vaccination recommendation was statistically significantly higher among non-working adults and adults who had been recommended for seasonal vaccination or both seasonal and H1N1 vaccination during the 2009–2010 pandemic influenza vaccination season. CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight that a majority of US adults do not know that they are recommended for annual influenza vaccination by the government. The fraction of adults who are unaware of their recommendation status is especially large among newly recommended healthy young adults. The universal vaccination recommendations will only be successful if they reach both patients and physicians and lead to changing vaccination practices. The universal nature of the new recommendation simplifies vaccination-related outreach and compliance with government vaccination guidelines considerably, as it does not require any identification of specific recommendation groups based on complex personal or health risk factors.

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