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Abstract

Background

Influenza vaccination for children aged 6 months to 6 years is included in the national vaccination programme in Finland. Although all vaccines in the programme are free of charge, national coverage of influenza vaccination among children under 3 years and 3–6 years during 2020/21 was 43% and 35% respectively, with regional differences.

Aim

To assess factors underlying parental vaccination intention in order to increase influenza vaccine uptake among children.

Methods

We conducted a web-based survey among parents (n = 17,844) of randomly selected eligible children (aged 6 months–6 years) in February–March 2022 in five Finnish municipalities from regions of high and low coverage. Logistic regressions were used to determine associations between vaccination intention and e.g. sociodemographic factors, attitudes and knowledge. Linkage to the national vaccination register was used to confirm realisation of vaccination intention after the study.

Results

Participation rate was 13% (n = 2,322 parents). Influenza knowledge, trust in official information, responding parent’s education level, adherence to the vaccination programme, number of children and changes in attitudes towards vaccination since COVID-19 were all associated with intention to vaccinate. Vaccination intention for children was 64%, and realised vaccination 51%.

Conclusion

Despite the low participation rate, both vaccinated and unvaccinated children were represented. Influenza vaccine uptake is not dependent on a single factor. Our results identified the need for open dialogue between parents and healthcare professionals, as the lack of vaccine being offered by healthcare professionals was the most reported reason for not vaccinating.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.49.2200828
2023-12-07
2024-02-22
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.49.2200828
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