Date of Award

Fall 11-11-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Christine Stauber

Second Advisor

Frances McCarty

Abstract

Background: Influenza is a highly contagious but preventable acute respiratory illness associated with high morbidity. Seasonal influenza affects approximately 20% to 40% of children and adolescents. Annual influenza vaccination is an effective approach to prevent illness but recent studies suggests that adolescents are underutilizing important preventive health services and that influenza vaccination coverage in high risk adolescents is also suboptimal. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between household reported health status and socio-demographic characteristics of U.S. adolescents who reported receiving an influenza vaccination.

Methods: Data from the 2008 National Immunization Survey were assessed examining various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, as well as reported health status of non-institutionalized adolescents in the U.S. The sample was limited adolescents aged 13-17. Odds ratios were calculated and multivariate logistic regression was conducted. P-values of < 0.05 and 95% confidence intervals were used to determine statistical significance.

Results: There were 29063 total observations with 18.9% reporting receiving the influenza vaccine. The results of this study indicate that sex, race and ethnicity, poverty status, health insurance status, asthma status, having an underlying health condition, missed school days due to illness or injury, and maternal age are associated with getting immunized against influenza. As one might expect those who reported having health insurance, having asthma, and having an underlying health condition had higher likelihood of vaccine. Interestingly, non-Hispanic other race and multi-race teens in the study were the most likely to receive the influenza vaccine compared with non-Hispanic white teens.

Conclusions: This study further examines the impact of socio-demographic disparities and health status on influenza vaccination coverage. Although the current influenza vaccine recommendations now include all individuals ages 6 months and older, it should still be important to recognize disparities and inequalities which contribute to non-vaccination or under-vaccination. Improved understanding of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, as well as existing underlying health conditions, will facilitate the path to improving interventions, vaccination rates, and subsequent reduction in the burden of this preventable disease.

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