To improve influenza vaccination rates for children using practice-based interventions, participants suggested campaigns that provide better information regarding the vaccine, the disease and its implications, and convenient access to vaccination. Strategies targeting adolescents should use web-based social marketing technologies and campaigns based in schools.
The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for all children age 6 months and older, yet vaccination rates remain modest. Effective strategies to improve influenza vaccination for children are needed.
Three themes emerged: barriers, facilitators, and strategies. Barriers included fear, misinformation, and mistrust, with exacerbation of these barriers attributed to media messages. Many considered influenza vaccination unnecessary and inconvenient, but would accept vaccination if recipients or other family members were considered high risk, if recommended by their doctor or another trusted person, or if offered or mandated by the school. Access to better information regarding influenza disease burden and vaccine safety and efficacy were notable facilitators, as were prevention of the inconvenience of missing work or important events, and if the child requests to receive the vaccine. Marketing strategies included incentives, jingles, videos, wearable items, strategically-located information sheets or posters, and promotion by informed counselors. Practice-based strategies included staff buy-in, standing orders protocols, vaccination clinics, and educational videos. Teen-specific strategies included message delivery through schools, texting, internet, and social networking sites.
Eight focus groups with 91 parents, teens, pediatric healthcare staff and providers, and immunization and marketing experts were conducted, audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and coded based on grounded theory.