Parental Perceptions of School-Based Influenza Vaccination (SBIV)

Program Delivery and Evaluation Network

Children are believed to be important drivers of influenza epidemics, and recent studies suggest that vaccinating school-aged children also indirectly protects families and communities. SBIV is an attractive strategy to attain high rates of vaccine coverage among children, but to date Ontario is the only Canadian province where this has been implemented, and only in some PHUs. Although some PHUs were not able to sustain SBIV, those that implemented SBIV attained higher vaccine coverage than those that did not. There are no published Canadian studies of parental perceptions of SBIV and only one from the U.S.. Thus we propose to conduct a qualitative study to examine parental perceptions of SBIV. Parents will be sampled from a range of PHUs including those that have never implemented SBIV as well as those that implemented and either continued or discontinued the program. They will be invited to participate in telephone-based group interviews that will explore the (potential) acceptability of SBIV programs and how they need to be structured for success from the perspectives of parents. The findings from this study will inform public health policy and program managers about the acceptability of SBIV programs and provide feedback about how they need to be structured for success. This knowledge will supplement findings from studies planned to examine stakeholder perspectives from health and education sectors, for which funding has been requested from CIHR. A study of parental perceptions of SBIV in Alberta (a province not currently employing SBIV) has been funded by the MSI Foundation (co-PIs: Margaret Russell and Candace Lind, co-applicants for this application) and is in progress.