Shortage of influenza vaccine in 2000-2001: did it change patient beliefs?


The influenza vaccine shortage resulted in a small increase in concerns about influenza vaccine, even in a population with good access to vaccine and high vaccination rates. Vaccine availability updates should include reassurances of vaccine safety and efficacy.

Elderly patients (n=319), who had been previously interviewed about the 1999-2000 influenza season, were interviewed regarding the 2000-2001 season. Participants were from inner-city and suburban medical practices receiving influenza vaccine supply on time or late in the season.

To determine which patient beliefs associated with influenza vaccination changed during a vaccine shortage year (2000-2001) from a nonshortage year (1999-2000).

Although vaccination rates did not diminish due to the influenza vaccine shortage (73% in 1999-2000 vs 74% in 2000-2001), some patient attitudes changed. More respondents expressed concerns about the influenza vaccine (3% in 1999-2000 vs 12% in 2000-2001, p<0.0001), and fewer responded that friends thought that they should get the vaccine (75% 1999-2000 vs 66% 2000-2001, p=0.005); that if one person in the household "got the flu" others would also (71% 1999-2000 vs 67% 2000-2001, p<0.0001), and that "a person who does not get the flu shot will get influenza" (36% 1999-2000 vs 30% 2000-2001, p=0.02).

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