Influenza vaccination coverage of Vaccine for Children (VFC)-entitled versus privately insured children, United States, 2011–2013☆
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Influenza vaccination coverage of Vaccine for Children (VFC)-entitled versus privately insured children, United States, 2011–2013☆

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      Background The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines at no cost to children who are Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN), or underinsured and vaccinated at Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Clinics. The objective of this study was to compare influenza vaccination coverage of VFC-entitled to privately insured children in the United States, nationally, by state, and by selected socio-demographic variables. Methods Data from the National Immunization Survey-Flu (NIS-Flu) surveys were analyzed for the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 influenza seasons for households with children 6 months–17 years. VFC-entitlement and private insurance status were defined based upon questions asked of the parent during the telephone interview. Influenza vaccination coverage estimates of children VFC-entitled versus privately insured were compared by t-tests, both nationally and within state, and within selected socio-demographic variables. Results For both seasons studied, influenza coverage for VFC-entitled children did not significantly differ from coverage for privately insured children (2011–2012: 52.0% ± 1.9% versus 50.7% ± 1.2%; 2012–2013: 56.0% ± 1.6% versus 57.2% ± 1.2%). Among VFC-entitled children, uninsured children had lower coverage (2011–2012: 38.9% ± 4.7%; 2012–2013: 44.8% ± 3.5%) than Medicaid-eligible (2011–2012: 55.2% ± 2.1%; 2012–2013: 58.6% ± 1.9%) and AI/AN children (2011–2012: 54.4% ± 11.3%; 2012–2013: 54.6% ± 7.0%). Significant differences in vaccination coverage among VFC-entitled and privately insured children were observed within some subgroups of race/ethnicity, income, age, region, and living in a metropolitan statistical area principle city. Conclusions Although finding few differences in influenza vaccination coverage among VFC-entitled versus privately insured children was encouraging, nearly half of all children were not vaccinated for influenza and coverage was particularly low among uninsured children. Additional public health interventions are needed to ensure that more children are vaccinated such as a strong recommendation from health care providers, utilization of immunization information systems, provider reminders, standing orders, and community-based interventions such as educational activities and expanded access to vaccination services.
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