Background: Influenza vaccination for family members of patients with cancer lowers patients' risk of influenza and related complications.
Purpose: This study aims to examine the utilization of influenza vaccination among such families.
Methods: Individuals directly or indirectly affected by cancer and a cancer-free control group were identified from the 2005 and 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey: current patients (CURR-I) and their family members (CURR-F); previous patients (PREV-I) and family members (PREV-F); and individuals in families not affected by cancer (I-F). Logistic regressions with appropriate weighting algorithms for survey data were performed to compare utilization among these five groups, while controlling for confounding factors (e.g., demographics, SES).
Results: The proportion of those vaccinated was substantially higher among patients with cancer. It was 58.7%, 54.7%, 43.83%, 39.73%, and 29.3% for CURR-I, PREV-I, CURR-F, PREV-F, and I-F, respectively. A similar pattern was observed in analyses stratified by age groups (18-49, 50-64, and > or =65 years). Results from logistic regressions indicated that the CURR-I group was significantly more likely to have influenza vaccine than I-F (OR [CI]=1.62 [1.10, 2.36]; 1.50 [1.11, 2.02]; and 1.42 [1.06, 1.92] for those aged 18-49, 50-64, and > or =65 years, respectively), but the differences between family members of patients with cancer and the control were not significant after controlling for the confounders. A significant difference between PREV-I and I-F was observed for only those aged > or =65 years (OR [CI]=1.47 [1.09, 1.99]).
Conclusions: Influenza vaccination was underutilized (<45%) among family members of patients with cancer. To reduce health risks for cancer survivors, prevention efforts should be extended to their family members.
2010 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.