Attitudes of family physicians to influenza vaccination after a cluster of deaths that were initially attributed to the vaccination

Roberto Ainbinder, Michal Shani, Reena Rosenberg, Sasson Nakar, Shlomo Vinker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The influenza vaccination rates in high risk populations decreased in 2006, in part, perhaps, as a reaction to a cluster of deaths that were initially attributed to the vaccine. We postulated that this event affected family physicians who usually recommend vaccination, and caused a change in their prescribing behavior. Objectives: To survey family physicians as to their recommendation of the influenza vaccine in 2006 as opposed to the previous year. Methods: After the 2006 influenza vaccination season an anonymous questionnaire was distributed in various settings to family physicians. The questions related to prescribing behavior in various target populations and whether they vaccinate themselves and their families. Results: A total of 122 physicians responded 74.5% thought that there was minimal or no connection between the vaccine and the deaths, 75.8% also denied any change in their recommendation behavior. However, there was a significant decrease in the recommendation strength as seen in the percentage of physicians who reported very strong recommendations to the elderly (57.4% vs. 32.3%, p<0.05) and chronically ill patients (64.8% vs. 39%, p<0.05). No difference was seen in their reported personal vaccination behavior. A multivariate regression model did not find any correlations between characteristics of the responding physicians and their attitudes or changes in attitudes to the influenza vaccine. Conclusions: The family physicians were more hesitant in recommending the influenza vaccine in 2006, and this may have affected vaccination rates. Improved availability of information and guidance to family physicians after the cluster of deaths may have prevented this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-949
Number of pages3
JournalHarefuah
Volume147
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Keywords

  • Cluster deaths
  • Family physicians
  • Influenza vaccines
  • Media
  • Prescribing behavior

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