The influence of provider behavior, parental characteristics, and a public policy initiative on the immunization status of children followed by private pediatricians: a study from Pediatric Research in Office Settings.Pediatrics. 1997 Feb; 99(2):209-15.Ped
To determine the relative impact of parental characteristics, provider behavior, and the provision of free vaccines through state-sponsored vaccine volume programs (VVPs) on the immunization status of children followed by private pediatricians.
Retrospective and cross-sectional surveys of immunization data.
The offices of 15 private pediatricians, from 11 states, who were members of the Pediatric Research in Office Settings network. Seven of these physicians used vaccines provided through VVPs.
Children 2 to 3 years old followed by the participating physicians.
The immunization status of children was assessed from two separate samples. For sample 1, immunization data were abstracted from the medical records of 60 consecutive eligible children seen in each office. Parents of the selected children indicated the method of payment for immunizations and the education levels of the mothers. Because this cross-sectional survey might have oversampled frequent health care users, a retrospective chart review of up to 75 randomly selected children in each pediatrician's practice was also conducted (sample 2). Additional data were collected from the parents of children in sample 2 by telephone interviews. For both samples, patients were considered to be fully immunized if they had received four diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis/diphtheria-tetanus vaccines, three oral poliovirus/inactivated poliovirus vaccines, and one measles-mumps-rubella vaccine before their second birthdays. Before collecting vaccination data, pediatricians completed a survey detailing their immunization beliefs and practices. Logistic regression was used to identify factors that were independently associated with a child being fully immunized.
For sample 1, 81.7% of the 857 children surveyed were fully immunized. Practitioner-specific immunization rates varied widely, ranging from 51% to 97%. The immunization rate of children who received vaccines provided by VVPs was similar to that of children whose immunizations were not provided by VVPs (81.2% vs 82.2%; odds ratio [OR] for a VVP as a predictor for being fully immunized, 0.94, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66 to 1.32). In addition, parents who paid for immunizations out of pocket were as likely to have fully immunized children as those who had little or no out-of-pocket expenditures for vaccines (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.75 to 1.13). In the logistic model, only individual pediatrician and size of the metropolitan area in which the pediatrician's practice was located were significant predictors of a child's immunization status. The results from sample 2 were similar; 82.1% of the 772 surveyed patients were fully immunized. With sample 2, individual pediatrician and age of the child at the time of the survey were the only predictors of immunization status. The OR of a VVP as a predictor of a child being fully immunized was 1.37 (95% CI, 0.65 to 2.90).
Individual provider behavior may be the most important determinant of the immunization status of children followed by private pediatricians. In our samples, the effect of parental characteristics was limited. State-sponsored VVPs were not associated with higher immunization rates, perhaps because cost of vaccines did not seem to be a significant barrier to immunization in this population.