The validity of parent-reported adolescent vaccination histories has not been assessed. This study evaluated the validity of parent-reported adolescent vaccination histories by a combination of immunization card and recall, and by recall only, compared with medical provider records.
We analyzed data from the 2008 National Immunization Survey-Teen. Parents of adolescents aged 13–17 years reported their child's vaccination history either by immunization card and recall (n=3,661) or by recall only (n=12,822) for the hepatitis B (Hep B), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), varicella (VAR), tetanus-diphtheria/tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Td/Tdap), meningococcal conjugate (MCV4), and quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV4) (for girls only) vaccines. We validated parental report with medical records.
Among the immunization card/recall group, vaccines with >20% false-positive reports included MMR (32.3%) and Td/Tdap (36.9%); vaccines with >20% false-negative reports included VAR (35.2%), MCV4 (36.0%), and Tdap (41.9%). Net bias ranged from −25.0 to −0.1 percentage points. Kappa values ranged from 0.22 to 0.92. Among the recall-only group, vaccines with >20% false-positive reports included Hep B (33.9%), MMR (61.4%), VAR (26.2%), and Td/Tdap (60.6%); vaccines with >20% false-negative reports included Hep B (58.9%), MMR (33.7%), VAR (51.6%), Td/Tdap (25.5%), Tdap (50.3%) MCV4 (63.0%), and HPV4 (20.5%). Net bias ranged from −46.0 to 0.5 percentage points. Kappa values ranged from 0.03 to 0.76.
Validity of parent-reported vaccination histories varies by type of report and vaccine. For recently recommended vaccines, false-negative rates were substantial and higher than false-positive rates, resulting in net underreporting of vaccination rates by both the immunization card/recall and recall-only groups. Provider validation of parent-reported vaccinations is needed for valid surveillance of adolescent vaccination coverage.