Clinician-parent discussions about influenza vaccination of children and their association with vaccine acceptance

Vaccine. 2017 May 9;35(20):2709-2715. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.03.077. Epub 2017 Apr 6.


Objective: To examine how clinicians communicate with parents about influenza vaccination and the effect of these communication behaviors on parental vaccine decision-making.

Study design: We performed a secondary analysis of data obtained from a cross-sectional observational study in which health supervision visits between pediatric clinicians and English-speaking parents of young children were videotaped. Eligible visits occurred during the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 influenza seasons, included children ≥6months, and contained an influenza vaccine discussion. A coding scheme of 10 communication behaviors was developed and applied to each visit. Associations between clinician communication behaviors and parental verbal vaccine acceptance and parental visit experience were examined using bivariate analysis and generalized linear mixed models.

Results: Fifty visits involving 17 clinicians from 8 practices were included in analysis. The proportion of parents who accepted influenza vaccine was higher when clinicians initiated influenza vaccine recommendations using presumptive rather than participatory formats (94% vs. 28%, p<0.001; adjusted odds ratio 48.2, 95% CI 3.5-670.5). Parental acceptance was also higher if clinicians pursued (vs. did not pursue) original recommendations when parents voiced initial resistance (80% vs. 13%, p<0.05) or made recommendations for influenza vaccine concurrent with (vs. separate from) recommendations for other vaccines due at the visit (83% vs. 33%, p<0.01). Parental visit experience did not differ significantly by clinician communication behaviors.

Conclusion: Presumptive initiation of influenza vaccine recommendations, pursuit in the face of resistance, and concurrent vaccine recommendations appear to increase parental acceptance of influenza vaccine without negatively affecting visit experience.

Keywords: Communication; Infants; Influenza vaccines; Nurse practitioners; Parents; Pediatricians; Vaccination; Vaccination refusal.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Communication*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Young Adult


  • Influenza Vaccines