Objective. To determine predictors of influenza virus vaccination status in children who are hospitalized during the influenza season.

Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted among children who were hospitalized with fever between 6 months and 3 years of age or with respiratory symptoms between 6 months and 18 years of age. The 1999 to 2000 influenza vaccination status of hospitalized children and potential factors that influence decisions to vaccinate were obtained from a questionnaire administered to parents/guardians.

Results. Influenza vaccination rates for hospitalized children with and without high-risk medical conditions were 31% and 14%, respectively. For both groups of children, the vaccination status was strongly influenced by recommendations from physicians. More than 70% of children were vaccinated if a physician had recommended the influenza vaccine, whereas only 3% were vaccinated if a physician had not. Lack of awareness that children can receive the influenza vaccine was a commonly cited reason for nonvaccination.

Conclusions. A minority of hospitalized children with high-risk conditions had received the influenza vaccine. However, parents’ recalling that a clinician had recommended the vaccine had a positive impact on the vaccination status of children.

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