Heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was in short supply from December 2003 to August 2004. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians made recommendations to providers to withhold third and fourth doses of heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to ensure availability for those at highest risk. Previous studies of vaccine shortages have demonstrated that provider compliance with temporary recommendations is low. The objective of this study was to collect timely data about awareness and adherence to temporary recommendations and current supply status of heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in pediatric practices.
A 2-phase telephone survey of pediatric practices was conducted during a 10-week period during the 2003-2004 heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine shortage. Immunization nurses at randomly selected sites with physician-members of the American Academy of Pediatrics were asked a series of questions.
In both study phases, >90% of participating practices were aware of the recommendations and reported adhering to the recommendations. In phase 1, practices with insufficient supply were more likely to implement recommendations than practices with sufficient supply. Participants identified health departments and Wyeth Vaccines as the most common sources of information. At least 65% of the practices in each phase reported use of tracking systems for children who missed doses.
Most pediatric practices surveyed were aware of the shortage and were implementing the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine recommendations. Simplified recommendations and collaborative efforts to develop and widely disseminate interim recommendations may result in increased compliance by providers.