Influenza vaccination among individuals with cancer and their family members

Am J Prev Med. 2010 Jan;38(1):61-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.09.032.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms*
  • Young Adult


  • Influenza Vaccines