Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Immunize Kansas Kids: Parental and Provider Attitudes, Practices, and Beliefs about Childhood Immunizations in Kansas

Candace Ayars, John Rule, and Gianfranco Pezzino. Public Health Studies, Kansas Health Institute, 212 SW 8th Ave, Suite 300, Topeka, KS, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to recognize the barriers and facilitating factors related to achieving the timely immunization of Kansas children.

Immunization rates for Kansas children are typically lower than the national average and little is known about potential contributing factors. Increasing the immunization rate and the timeliness of immunizations requires an understanding of both modifying and moderating influences.

To determine the salient themes related to delivering and receiving timely immunizations in Kansas and provide a basis for intervention.

A qualitative, semi-structured interview method was used to assess the attitudes and beliefs of three relevant populations: 1) private healthcare providers; 2) local health departments; and 3) parents of children aged 0-35 months. Data were analyzed using QSR N6 qualitative analysis software.

The most salient facilitating factor for immunization completion and timing did not differ by category, but did differ by process between the populations. Patient follow-up was identified as the most significant facilitating factor. However, providers preferred less interactive methods such as reminder postcards (29%) and public campaigns (26%) while parents preferred more personalized approaches (52%). Insurance problems (29%) and insufficient follow-up (25%) were identified by parents as the most significant barriers to immunizing their children on schedule. Providers cited expenses related to vaccine supply and storage (23%) and conflicting messages from state and local agencies (23%) as the important barriers to immunization access.

Common themes about the childhood immunization process in Kansas emerged. Both parents and providers recognize the pivotal role of patient follow-up to timely and complete immunization of Kansas children. However, parental needs for follow-up are currently not being met despite provider efforts. These findings provide insight useful toward achieving complete and timely immunization for Kansas children.

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