Children less than 59 months belong to a risk group for influenza complications and should be vaccinated.
The aim of our cross-sectional study was to learn the general perception of influenza vaccination in parents for preschool children younger than 59 months.
Materials and Methods A validated survey (kappa score 0.6) was administered in five public day-care facilities in Warsaw. 484 surveys were administered; the response rate was 62%. The average age of a parent was 31.2 years (SD 3.2), the average age of a child was 3.8 years (SD 1.3). 56% of parents declared they were highly educated.
Results The influenza immunisation rate in children of surveyed parents was 4%. 72% parents thought their child was unlikely to contract influenza. 80% believed influenza vaccine might deteriorate the immunological system of a child. 42% considered vaccination unsafe, 77% believed it may cause the disease or predispose to recurrent respiratory tract infections. The main reason for non-vaccination was the lack of influenza recommendation by health professionals (89%).
Conclusions Parents of preschool children hold a number of misconceptions about vaccinations. Influenza vaccine coverage among children younger than 59 months is low. Family doctors and paediatricians should be more aware of the necessity to inform and encourage parents to vaccinate their children against influenza.