The objective of this study was to assess the validity of parental report of influenza vaccinations.
A cross-sectional study of children who were 6 to 59 months of age and presented to a large, pediatric residency clinic from February through April 2005 was performed. A standardized, parental questionnaire ascertained the influenza vaccination status of children during the 2004-2005 influenza season and was compared with the medical chart, the criterion standard. Children were classified as being at high risk when they had a specific influenza vaccine recommendation in 2004-2005 by age (6-23 months of age) or by chronic medical condition.
Of 218 parents approached in the pediatric residency clinic, 198 (95%) children who were 6 to 59 months of age were enrolled, and 84 (42%) were vaccinated according to the medical chart. More children who were 6 to 23 months than those who were 24 to 59 months of age were vaccinated (63% vs 21%). Children with chronic medical conditions were more likely to be vaccinated than healthy children who were 24 to 59 months of age (57% vs 11%), but no difference was observed for children who were 6 to 23 months of age (79% vs 60%). In comparison with the medical chart, parental report of influenza vaccination had a sensitivity of 88%, a specificity of 90%, and a kappa coefficient of 0.78. For children who were 6 to 23 months of age or had a chronic medical condition (n = 123), parental report had a sensitivity of 89%, a specificity of 81%, and a kappa coefficient of 0.71.
Parental report of influenza vaccination among children who were 6 to 59 months of age had reasonable sensitivity, specificity, and reliability as compared with the medical chart in this study population.