Background: Vaccination against seasonal influenza is far from universal among groups specifically recommended for vaccine. There is little research to guide communication with patients about vaccination.
Objective: To assess the utility of the self-reported intention to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza in predicting vaccine uptake, reasons for being unvaccinated, and willingness to be vaccinated based on a doctor's recommendation.
Methods: We analyzed data from a subset of respondents (n = 1,527) specifically recommended by the ACIP for vaccination against seasonal influenza who participated in two national surveys of adults age 18 and older conducted in November 2008 and March 2009.
Results: Over half who intended to be vaccinated had been vaccinated. Compared to those without intentions, those with intentions were one-fifth as likely (p < 0.01) to cite lack of need and five times more likely (p < 0.01) to cite "not getting around to being vaccinated" as main reasons for not being vaccinated. Roughly two-fifths of those without the intention to be vaccinated indicated a willingness to be vaccinated based on a doctor's recommendation.
Conclusions: Asking simple questions about the intention to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza may be an efficient means of identifying patients with whom extended discussion of vaccine benefits is warranted.