Increasing Pediatric Influenza Immunization Rates at the UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center
Arpit Patel, DO, MS; Scott Brown DO; Alissa Cohen DO, MS; Lori Stiefel MD; Jacqueline Weaver-Agostoni DO, MPH
Unvaccinated pediatric patients exposed to the influenza virus are more prone to complications and death compared to those who receive the flu vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a 2-dose series approximately 1 month apart for patients 6 months to 8 years of age if they have not received 2 doses in prior seasons. After receiving the 2-dose series, patients only require one immunization annually.
Pediatric Influenza immunization rates were recorded and reviewed during the 2018-2019 influenza season defined between September 1 to April 30 including how many influenza immunizations administered and how many patients required the 2-dose series which was obtained through an EPIC report and chart review. A poster educating patients on the influenza vaccine was placed in the patient waiting room, as well as a flyer to distribute to parents who did choose not to immunize their children. The poster and flyer included information and facts obtained from the CDC website. Rates of influenza vaccine administration and completion of 2-dose series were compared to pre-intervention data from the 2018-2019 season.
The pre-intervention 2-step immunization rate at the Shadyside FHC was 44% (N=30/68). The 2018-2019 influenza immunization rate for all pediatric patients between 6 months and 8 years of age was 46% (N=183/395). The post-intervention 2-step immunization rate was 51% (N=35/68) with an overall immunization rate of 56% (N=175/310) for the 2019-2020 season. The true effectiveness of the intervention is difficult to assess due to the global pandemic from COVID-19 which included a shortened influenza immunization administration time.
When compared to the previous season, the 2-step influenza vaccination rate increased from the 2018-2019 season to the 2019-2020 season, which may have been associated with our intervention. This study provides a foundation for further research, especially in the realm of increasing vaccination compliance.