Background: In past years, only half of recommended adults got vaccinated for influenza. The existence of two vaccines—seasonal and pandemic—created the potential for confusion and misinformation among consumers during the 2009-2010 vaccination season.
Objectives: To measure the frequency and nature of influenza vaccination communication between healthcare providers and adults for both seasonal and 2009 influenza A(H1N1) vaccination and quantify the associations between provider-based vaccination communication and uptake of the two vaccines.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 4,040 adult members of a nationally representative online panel collected between March 4th and March 24th, 2010. The analysis uses self-reported measures of influenza vaccine uptake, healthcare provider visits, vaccination-related communication with healthcare providers, risk factors and socio-demographic characteristics and employs proportion estimation and bivariate probit models.
Results: Only 35.9% (95%-CI: 33.4%-38.5%) of adults received a seasonal or pandemic influenza vaccination recommendation from a healthcare provider. These adults were 14.1 (95%-CI: -2.4-30.6) to 32.1 (95%-CI: 24.3-39.8) percentage points more likely to be vaccinated for influenza than adults without a provider recommendation, after adjusting for other characteristics associated with vaccination. Similarly, only 28.3% (95%-CI: 25.9%-30.7%) of adults asked their doctor about getting an influenza vaccine. These patient queries were associated with 26.5 (95%-CI: 14.9-38.1) to 34.0 (95%-CI: 25.6-42.3) percentage points higher adjusted vaccination rates.
Conclusions: Despite the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, influenza vaccination communication between healthcare providers and adults was relatively rare. Increased communication between patients and healthcare providers could significantly enhance influenza vaccination rates in the adult population.