Melissa Stockwell 2019

Melissa Stockwell

Children of parents who received a simple educational handout with information about influenza were more likely to get vaccinated by the end of the influenza season, according to the results of a randomized clinical trial published in Pediatrics.

“Parents’ concerns and misperceptions about vaccines are on the rise,” Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, study author and an associate professor of pediatrics and population and family health at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in a press release. “But previous studies have shown that offering information to disprove vaccine myths, in some cases, only reinforces parents’ beliefs about vaccination and can even reduce the number of vaccine-hesitant parents who intend to get their kids vaccinated.”

Between August 2016 and March 2017, Scott and colleagues analyzed the vaccination records of children aged 6 months and younger who visited either of two pediatric clinics in New York. Parents of these children were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive usual care, an educational handout with local influenza data, or an educational handout with national influenza data. The handouts were given to parents in the waiting room before their child’s visit. The analysis included 400 parent-child dyads.

According to the researchers, parents who received either handout were more likely to get their child vaccinated by the end of the season — but not on the day of the clinic visit — compared with those who received usual care (74.9% vs. 65.4%; adjusted OR = 1.68; 95% CI, 1.06-2.67). Parents received handouts with national influenza data compared with usual care were more likely to have their child vaccinated on the day of the visit (59% vs. 52.6%; aOR = 1.79; 95% CI, 1.04-3.08) but not by the end of the season.

“The difference in magnitude of the number of deaths from influenza may have made the national handout more impactful,” Stockwell said. – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosures: Stockwell reports being an unremunerated coinvestigator for an unrelated, investigator-initiated grant from the Pfizer Medical Education Group. All other authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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