Background: Children with asthma may be at increased risk for low immunization rates given that they have recurrent illnesses that often result in acute care visits to their pediatrician, visits to the emergency room, admissions to the hospital, and visits to subspecialists, where immunizations are not routinely administered.
Objectives: To assess immunization rates for routine and influenza vaccines in children with asthma and assess factors that may contribute to delay.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 117 children aged 6 to 48 months with onset of asthma within the first 15 months of life. Subjects were recruited from an allergy and immunology clinic at an urban, tertiary care center. Those judged to have immunization delay did not have the required 4 DTP, 3 OPV, and 1 MMR vaccine by age 24 months (4:3:1 series). Receipt of influenza vaccine was determined for eligible children with moderate to severe asthma.
Results: Seventy-four (80%) children had up-to-date immunizations at age 24 months. Those with delay had fewer visits to a subspecialist than those who were up-to-date (1 versus 2 visits P = .010). Twenty-two (25%) of 87 eligible subjects received influenza vaccine. Recipients were more likely to have been hospitalized than nonrecipients (77% versus 49%, P = .022).
Conclusions: Though the majority of young children with asthma were up-to-date for routine immunizations, only 25% of children with moderate to severe asthma received influenza vaccine. Greater efforts must be made by pediatricians and asthma subspecialists to ensure that children with moderate to severe asthma are immunized against influenza virus.