Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Background: In the past several years, a number of vaccines have been recommended for adolescents. These include Tdap, meningococcal conjugate (MCV4), HPV and influenza vaccines.
Objectives: To assess parents' familiarity with the vaccines, their opinions about administration of these vaccines to adolescents, and considerations affecting decision-making related to vaccination.
Methods: A stratified random sample of the Harris Poll On-Line's (HPOL) survey panel who self-identified as being the parent of at least one adolescent aged 11-17 years were invited to participate by HPOL in an on-line survey about adolescent immunization during a 1 week period in January 2009. Invitations were sent until 557 individuals completed the survey, providing a 95% probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of no more than +/- 4%. Survey results were weighted to reflect the population of parents of 11-17 year olds in the U.S. based on a number of demographic factors. Responses of parents of older adolescents ages 15-17 and parents of younger adolescents ages 11-14 were compared using Χ2 analysis.
Results: The majority of parents, regardless of the age of their adolescent, had heard of all the vaccines. Parents of younger adolescents were more likely than parents of older adolescents to report that their teens had received influenza vaccine within the previous 2 years (63% vs. 49%, P=.01). In contrast, parents of older adolescent females were more likely to report that their daughters had received 1 dose of HPV vaccine (70% vs. 48%, P<.01). No age-specific differences were found for receipt of Tdap and MCV4 vaccines. Parents who reported that they were concerned that their teens might develop influenza or cervical cancer were significantly more likely than other parents to indicate that their teens had received these vaccines (67% vs. 48%, P<.01 for influenza vaccine; 82% vs. 50%, P<.01 for HPV vaccine). Parents most commonly cited vaccine safety as their single most important consideration in deciding whether or not teens should receive vaccinations (OR 2.5 compared to every other factor). Concern about potential vaccine side effects was most pronounced for HPV vaccine, with 66% of parents of girls ages 11-14 and 63% of parents of girls ages 15-17 expressing such concern.
Conclusions: Vaccine safety is the most important consideration for parents in deciding if their teens should receive recommended vaccines.