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21-07-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Parental education influences flu vaccination rates in students

Abstract

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MedWire News: Parental education levels are significantly associated with influenza vaccination rates among university students, research shows.

Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Allison Aiello (University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA) and colleagues explain: "The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices encourages dormitory residents to receive influenza vaccination."

But they add: "To our knowledge, there are no studies that have directly examined factors associated with vaccination uptake among university students residing in dormitories."

To address this, the team studied 845 university students, aged at least 18 years, who were residing in campus dormitories at the University of Michigan. All the participants completed extensive questionnaires in 2008, which included questions detailing parental education and influenza vaccination during previous winter seasons.

Analysis of the responses revealed that higher levels of parental educational attainment were associated with a higher influenza vaccine uptake rates among the students in previous winter seasons.

Indeed, students with parents who were college graduates or who were educated to postgraduate level were 3.48 and 5.89 times, respectively, more likely to have received the influenza vaccination in 2007-2008 than students with parents with some college education or less, after accounting for the presence of asthma and other confounding factors.

The researchers also found that students who had received the influenza vaccine in 2006-2007 were 16.38 times more likely to have received it again in 2007-2008 than those who had not.

Speaking with a health professional about precautions against influenza was associated with a 2.95-fold increased likelihood of receiving the vaccine.

Aiello and team conclude: "We have shown that, among undergraduate students residing in dormitory halls at the University of Michigan, influenza vaccination coverage varies significantly according to prior influenza season influenza vaccine status, recent influenza discussion with a health professional and socioeconomic status as measured by parental educational attainment."

They add: "Programs targeting students who are employed on campus and who have never been vaccinated may be an especially effective way to increase vaccination rates, as both of these factors were significantly related to parental socioeconomic status in this study."

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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