Background: U.S. recommendations for pediatric influenza vaccination have expanded significantly in recent years. Pediatricians (PDs) and family physicians (FPs) are the principal physician specialties that provide preventative care for U.S. children.
Objectives: To compare pediatric influenza vaccination by U.S. PDs and FPs during the previous 4 seasons.
Methods: Electronic healthcare reimbursement claims data representing more than 60% of all medical claims from the U.S. outpatient setting were analyzed. Weekly counts of influenza vaccinations given to children 6 months through 18 years of age between August 1 and March 31 for the 2006–2007 through 2009–2010 seasons were projected to yield national estimates for all children with private insurance.
Results: In each season, 82%–85% of all pediatric seasonal influenza vaccinations were delivered by PDs; 10%–11% were delivered by FPs. This difference varied by child age. For children 6–23 months, 2–4 years, and 5–8 years, 83%–89% and 6%–11% of vaccinations were delivered by PDs and FPs, respectively. Among children 9–18 years, 73%–78% and 15%–18% of vaccinations were administered by PDs and FPs. The timing of influenza vaccination during the season was similar for PDs and FPs. For children 6–23 months, use of injectable vaccine in thimerosal-free, prefilled syringes increased from 39% to 58% of PD vaccinations and from 28% to 40% of FP vaccinations. For children 2–18 years of age, use of intranasal vaccine increased from 9% to 38% of PD vaccinations and 3% to 13% of FP vaccinations.
Conclusions: PDs deliver the vast majority of influenza vaccinations to children, but FPs also play an important role, particularly among older children. Adoption of newer vaccine types has been slower in recent years among FPs relative to PDs. Sponsored by MedImmune.