Sensitivity and specificity of patient self-report of influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccinations among elderly outpatients in diverse patient care strata

Vaccine. 2003 Mar 28;21(13-14):1486-91. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(02)00700-4.


National surveys of adult vaccination indicate moderate self-reported immunization rates in the US, with limited validity data. We compared self-report with medical record abstraction for 820 persons aged > or =66 years from inner-city health centers, Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient clinics, rural and suburban practices. For influenza vaccine, sensitivity was 98% (95% CI: 96-99%); specificity was 38% (95% CI: 33-43%). For pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, sensitivity was 85% (95% CI: 82-89%) and specificity was 46% (95% CI: 42-50%). The VA had the highest sensitivity and lowest specificity for both vaccines while the converse was true in inner-city centers. High negative predictive values indicate that clinicians can confidently vaccinate based on negative patient self-report.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Patient Care
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines