Influenza vaccine uptake among community-dwelling Italian elderly: results from a large cross-sectional study
1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Hygiene and Public Health, Polytechnic University of the Marche Region, via Tronto, 10/a, Torrette di Ancona, 60020, Italy
2 Department of Gerontological Research, Italian National Research Centre on Ageing - I.N.R.C.A., Via Santa Margherita 5, Ancona, 60100, Italy
BMC Public Health 2011, 11:207 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-207Published: 1 April 2011
Flu vaccination significantly reduces the risk of serious complications like hospitalization and death among community-dwelling older people, therefore vaccination programmes targeting this population group represent a common policy in developed Countries. Among the determinants of vaccine uptake in older age, a growing literature suggests that social relations can play a major role.
Drawing on the socio-behavioral model of Andersen-Newman - which distinguishes predictors of health care use in predisposing characteristics, enabling resources and need factors - we analyzed through multilevel regressions the determinants of influenza immunization in a sample of 25,183 elderly reached by a nationally representative Italian survey.
Being over 85-year old (OR = 1.99; 95% CI 1.77 - 2.21) and suffering from a severe chronic disease (OR = 2.06; 95% CI 1.90 - 2.24) are the strongest determinants of vaccine uptake. Being unmarried (OR = 0.81; 95% CI 0.74 - 0.87) and living in larger households (OR = 0.83; 95% CI 0.74 - 0.87) are risk factors for lower immunization rates. Conversely, relying on neighbors' support (OR = 1.09; 95% CI 1.02 - 1.16) or on privately paid home help (OR = 1.19; 95% CI 1.08 - 1.30) is associated with a higher likelihood of vaccine uptake.
Even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and need factors, social support, measured as the availability of assistance from partners, neighbors and home helpers, significantly increases the odds of influenza vaccine use among older Italians.