Can educational handouts improve flu immunization rates?

July 12, 2019

A new study from researchers at Columbia University indicate that the solution to increasing influenza immuinzation rates may be simple.

Could improving influenza immunization rates be as simple as giving parents an educational pamphlet in the waiting room? A new study from researchers at Columbia University indicate that the solution may be that simple.

The study used a convenience sample of 400 parent-child pairs who visited 2 pediatric clinics in New York City between August 2016 and March 2017. Each pair was assigned to receive either usual care, an educational pamphlet that covered influenza using local data, or an educational pamphlet that covered influenza using national data. Primary outcomes were the child receiving the influenza immunization at the same clinical visit that the parent received the pamphlet or the child being immunized by the end of influenza season.

Researchers found that in the group of parents who received either form of pamphlet, almost 72% had their child immunized by the end of the season. Among parents who received usual care, around 65% immunized their child by the end of the season. The pamphlet with the national data also increased the likelihood of a same-day influenza immunization rate with 59% of the children receiving the immunization, compared with 53% who received usual care only. They also found that when parents stated that they would get their child immunized, 90% would follow through with the statement by the end of the season.

 

The next steps for the study authors include looking at how other forms of educational information can improve the uptake of influenza immunization. The pamphlet used was included in the study.