posted October 11, 2012
Every year, thousands of Albertans get the flu. School aged children are more likely to get sick than older people and while they are less likely to end up in hospital, they often miss school and their parents must stay home to take care of them.
Vaccinating school aged children not only protects the children it may also stop them from spreading the flu to family members and the community. Because only a small proportion of school aged children receive yearly flu shots researchers at the University of Calgary are exploring school based flu vaccination programs.
Candace Lind, RN, PhD and Dr. Margaret Russell are interesting in learning about parents’ perspectives on offering flu vaccinations in Alberta schools and hope this information can help shape new public health programs.
“An efficient way to vaccinate children against influenza is to vaccinate them at school but this is not currently done. Children already receive some vaccinations at school so adding a yearly flu shot could be an option for public health to consider if parents are interested, “says Russell a researcher and physician at the University of Calgary’s Institute for Public Health. “Parents are the people who decide if, and where, their children should be vaccinated. It is essential to consider the needs and perspectives of parents if school based flu vaccination programs are to be designed and carried out in the future.”
The research team will use focus groups targeting the parents of children ages 5-18 who live in Calgary or in one of the communities within 150km of Calgary. These communities include, Airdrie, Cochrane, Banff, Canmore Strathmore, High River, Claresholm, Cremona, Didsbury, Gleichen, Okotoks, Turner Valley/Black Diamond, Nanton, Stavely, and Vulcan.
The focus groups will take approximately one to two hours to complete, and will be held in a location close to the parent’s community. There is no cost to parents if they take part in this project, and a transportation subsidy will be made available for those who may have difficulty attending a session. The team will be recruiting until it has all 192 participants needed for the study.
Anyone interesting in learning more about the focus group can get more information at:
The study is funded by the MSI Foundation, a charitable foundation that fosters and supports research into any aspect of the provision of health and allied services to the people of Alberta, and the promotion of matters of health in the interest of the people of Alberta.