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Coverage and parental perceptions of influenza vaccination among parents of children aged 6 to 23 months in Hong Kong

Joseph TF Lau123*, Phoenix KH Mo12, Yan Shan Cai4, Hi Yi Tsui1 and Kai Chow Choi5

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Health Behaviours Research, School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR

2 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen, China

3 Centre for Medical Anthropology and Behavioral Health, School of Sociology and Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

4 Department of Planned Immunization, Guangzhou Center for Disease Control, Guangzhou, China

5 The Nethersole School of Nursing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:1026  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1026

Published: 30 October 2013



The impact of influenza on young children can be severe and even fatal. Influenza vaccination (IV) has been shown to be effective in reducing complications of influenza among children. This study investigated the prevalence and factors of IV among children aged 6-23 months in Hong Kong.


A sample of 401 Chinese parents of children aged 6-23 months were interviewed at local Maternal and Child Health Centers. Socio-demographic information, variables related to Health Belief Model, including perceptions about the child’s chance of contracting influenza, perceived harm of influenza on children, perceived benefits and side-effects of IV, having received recommendations from health professionals to uptake IV, and IV behaviors of the children were measured. Multivariate analysis was used to examine factors associated with IV behaviors of children.


Only 9% of the children had ever been vaccinated. Among those parents who had heard of IV (92.0%), substantial proportions perceived that IV could reduce the risk of influenza-induced complications (70.5%), hospitalization (70.5%) and death (65.9%). Relatively few of the participants believed that IV had no side effects (17.1%) and even less had been recommended by health care professionals to uptake IV (10.6%). Results from multivariate analysis showed that physician recommendations were associated with a higher likelihood for IV among younger children, whilst parental perceptions of the side effects of IV was associated with a lower likelihood for IV.


The prevalence of IV among children aged 6-23 months in Hong Kong was very low. Promotion of IV with the component of physician recommendations and parents’ knowledge about IV safety for this group is warranted.

Influenza vaccination; Parental perceptions; Children; Health belief model; Chinese