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Timing of Adolescent Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccination

Attitudes and Practices of Pediatricians and Family Medicine Physicians

      Background

      The meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) was recommended for those aged 11–18 years in 2005. Initial supply issues led to an emphasis on immunizing older adolescents. When supply improved in 2007, routine immunization was recommended for those aged 11–12 years.

      Purpose

      Among a U.S. sample of pediatricians and family medicine physicians, describe (1) recommendation and administration practices for MCV4; (2) preferences regarding MCV4 administration; and (3) attitudes and characteristics associated with recommendation for those aged >12 years.

      Methods

      A mail and Internet survey in a nationally representative sample of physicians was conducted between December 2009 and March 2010. Analysis was conducted between March 2010 and October 2010, including a multivariable analysis to examine factors associated with deferring MCV4 to ages >12 years.

      Results

      Response rates were 88% (pediatricians 367/419) and 63% (family medicine physicians 268/423). In all, 95% of pediatricians and 73% of family medicine physicians reported administering MCV4 routinely to those aged 11–18 years (p<0.0001); 83% (pediatricians) and 45% (family medicine physicians) reported strongly recommending MCV4 for those aged 11–12 years (p<0.0001); 27% (pediatricians) and 40% (family medicine physicians) preferred to administer MCV4 to those aged >12 years (p<0.0001). Compared with those who strongly recommend for those aged 11–12 years, physicians who do not regularly stock MCV4, family medicine physicians, and physicians concerned about waning immunity were more likely to defer their recommendation, whereas physicians practicing in the Northeast and those with more Latino patients were less likely to defer.

      Conclusions

      Most pediatricians and family medicine physicians administer MCV4, but many, especially family medicine physicians and those concerned about waning immunity, defer their recommendation for MCV4 to patients aged >12 years.
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