New research published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal found that adult caregivers (AC) of children would readily accept influenza vaccinations when they are offered during a visit to their child’s primary pediatric care office. They further identified several barriers to improving vaccination rates.
For children, having an AC who is infected with influenza is a serious risk factor for acquiring the disease themselves and poor access to vaccines may lower adult vaccination rates. During the 2015-2016 influenza season, vaccines were offered to ACs at 3 pediatric primary care clinics at the University of Florida.
A total of 297 ACs received an influenza vaccine from the pediatric clinic, most (84%) of them on the same day as their child’s visit and 68.5% of these were mothers. The mean age of the ACs was 35.9 (range 22 to 70) and 99% had private insurance. Roughly half (49.6%) of the ACs’ children had high-risk illnesses.
Parents of children on Medicaid were under-represented and the highest vaccine participation was seen at clinics with the lowest Medicaid populations.
This study found many ACs are willing to receive the influenza vaccine during their child’s visit. However, several logistical concerns remain to be addressed, such as AC vaccination documentation, disruptions to clinic flow, vaccine supplies, and reimbursement.
The study limitations included an inability to collect specific pieces of information regarding the AC influenza cocooning program, such as vaccination refusal rates and reasons, behavioral motivations for obtaining vaccines, and understanding why Medicaid users were not using the program.
Investigators concluded that these vaccination programs can be successful in private practice settings and the logistical concerns minimized with proper programing and attention to detail. “Influenza cocooning programs should be expanded as a key complement to a pediatric patient’s medical home,” concluded the investigators.
Jacobs K, Posa M, Spellicy W, Otero J, Kelly M. Adult caregiver influenza vaccination through administration in pediatric outpatient clinics: a cocooning healthcare improvement project [published online March 02, 2018]. Pediatr Infect Dis J. doi:1.10.1097/INF.0000000000001970.