Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reasons Given to Refuse Influenza Vaccination

Today, I want to highlight a recent published study by Mirza A, et al in the Southern Medical Journal (November 2008, Volume 101, Number 1, pages 1101-5). They examined the perceptions of children with chronic medical diseases, other than asthma, about the influenza vaccination. Note the rate of influenza in the house during the previous year ranged from 20% to 29%. This is similar to the 20% value I cited earlier.

The reasons given why patients did not get an influenza vaccination, in decreasing order, were: not offered, did not know they could get one, not worried, refused, not available, couldn't get to the office, concern about having an allergy/reaction.

The authors also asked parents why their children did not receive the influenza vaccination. The results, again in decreasing order of importance, were: get flu from the vaccine, vaccine is not safe, no physician recommendation, does not work, and too painful.

Their conclusions were that physicians and their offices must make it clear that they both recommend everyone qualified should receive the influenza vaccination, it is safe, and the vaccination is available. All of the concerns above were answered in my earlier blogs, so I continue to recommend that my patients receive the influenza vaccination unless there is a specific reason.

The peak of the influenza season is approaching: the month of February. If you have questions about the influenza vaccination, ask your doctor...

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