Objectives: To assess immunization practices and attitudes of U.S. primary care physicians regarding adult influenza and pneumococcal immunizations.
Methods: Mailed survey of primary care internists and family physicians across the United States; four follow-up contacts by mail and telephone. Bivariate and multivariate analyses assessed immunization practices and attitudes and differences by physician characteristics.
Results: Three hundred and sixteen of 668 eligible physicians responded (50 refused, response rate of 266 = 40%); 220 provided adult vaccinations. More than 64% indicated they routinely vaccinated patients >/=65 years and those <65 years with chronic disease indications with both influenza and pneumococcal vaccine. Reported barriers for influenza vaccination included vaccine safety concerns by patients (58%), urgent concerns dominating visits (43%), and inadequate reimbursement (26%). Reported barriers for pneumococcal vaccination included urgent concerns during office visits (44%), no patient immunization history (36%), patient concerns about vaccine safety (31%), and inadequate reimbursement (25%). Many physicians indicated willingness to try tracking systems (72%), chart reminders (55%), patient reminders (53%), standing orders (36%), external lists of unimmunized patients for pneumococcal vaccination (74%), external patient reminders (70%), and office training of physicians (36%) or staff (46%).
Conclusions: While most physicians favored adult vaccinations, practical barriers to vaccination exist. Most physicians would adopt evidence-based strategies to improve immunization delivery.