Understanding reasons for participating in a school-based influenza vaccination program and decision-making dynamics among adolescents and parents

Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, US, 30322 Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, US, 30322 Emory University, School of Medicine, East Central Health District, Georgia Department of Public Health and Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, Georgia 30904 Georgia Regents University.
Health Education Research (Impact Factor: 1.66). 05/2013; 28(4). DOI: 10.1093/her/cyt060
Source: PubMed


Influenza remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Vaccinating school-aged children has been demonstrated to be beneficial to the child and in reducing viral transmission to vulnerable groups such as the elderly. This qualitative study sought to identify reasons parents and students participated in a school-based influenza vaccination clinic and to characterize the decision-making process for vaccination. Eight focus groups were conducted with parents and students. Parents and students who participated in the influenza vaccination clinic stated the educational brochure mailed to their home influenced participation in the program. Parents of non-participating students mentioned barriers, such as the lengthy and complicated consent process and suspicions about the vaccine clinic, as contributing to their decision not to vaccinate their child. Vaccinated students reported initiating influenza vaccine discussion with their parents. Parental attitudes and the educational material influenced parents' decision to allow their child to receive influenza vaccine. This novel study explored reasons for participating in a school-based vaccination clinic and the decision-making process between parents and child(ren). Persons running future school-based vaccination clinics may consider hosting an 'information session with a question and answer session' to address parental concerns and assist with the consent process.

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    ABSTRACT: Objective To understand the perspectives of Ontario parents regarding the advantages and disadvantages of adding influenza immunisation to the currently existing Ontario school-based immunisation programmes. Design Descriptive qualitative study. Participants Parents of school-age children in Ontario, Canada, who were recruited using a variety of electronic strategies (social media, emails and media releases), and identified as eligible (Ontario resident, parent of one or more school-age children, able to read/write English) on the basis of a screening questionnaire. We used stratified purposeful sampling to obtain maximum variation in two groups: parents who had ever immunised at least one child against influenza or who had never done so. We conducted focus groups (teleconference or internet forum) and individual interviews to collect data. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Setting Ontario, Canada. Results Of the 55 participants, 16 took part in four teleconference focus groups, 35 in 6 internet forum focus groups and four in individual interviews conducted between October 2012 and February 2013. Participants who stated that a school-based influenza immunisation programme would be worthwhile for their child valued its convenience and its potential to reduce influenza transmission without interfering with the family routine. However, most thought that for a programme to be acceptable, it would need to be well designed and voluntary, with adequate parental control and transparent communication between the key stakeholder groups of public health, schools and parents. Conclusions These results will benefit decision-makers in the public health and education sectors as they consider the advantages and disadvantages of immunising children in schools as part of a system-wide influenza prevention approach. Further research is needed to assess the perceptions of school board and public health stakeholders.
    BMJ Open 06/2014; 4(6):e005189. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005189 · 2.27 Impact Factor

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