Background: The objectives of the survey were to identify the level of influenza vaccination coverage in China in three influenza seasons 2009/10 to 2011/12, and to find out potential predictors for seasonal influenza vaccination.
Methods: In September and October 2011, representative urban household telephone surveys were conducted in five provinces in China with a response rate of 6%. Four target groups were defined for analysis: 1) children ≤ 5 years old; 2) elderly persons aged ≥ 60 years old; 3) health care workers (persons working in the medical field) and 4) chronically ill persons.
Results: The overall mean vaccination rate was 9.0%. Among the four target groups, the rate of vaccination of children aged ≤ 5 years old (mean = 26%) was highest and the rate of elderly people aged ≥ 60 years old (mean = 7.4%) was the lowest, while the rates of persons who suffer from a chronic illness (mean = 9.4%) and health care workers (9.5%) were similar. A subsidy for influenza vaccination, age group, health care workers, suffering from a chronic illness and living in Eastern China were independent significant predictors for influenza vaccination.
Conclusions: The seasonal influenza vaccination coverage rates among urban populations in selected cities and provinces in China were far below previously reported rates in developed countries. Influenza vaccination coverage rates differed widely between different target groups and provinces in China. Subsidy policy might have a positive effect on influenza vaccination rate, but further cost-effectiveness studies, as well as the vaccination rate associated factors studies are still needed to inform strategies to increase coverage.