Background Meningococcal disease is rare but can cause death or disabilities. Although the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended meningococcal vaccination for at-risk children aged 9 through 23 months, it has not endorsed universal vaccination. Health insurance payments for the vaccination of children who are not at risk are likely to be limited. Use of infant meningococcal vaccines by these families will thus depend on the preferences of physicians who might recommend vaccination to parents, as well as parents' preferences. Objective To quantify pediatricians' preferences for specific features of hypothetical infant meningococcal vaccines. Methods A sample of pediatricians (n = 216) completed a Web-enabled, discrete choice experiment survey in which respondents chose between pairs of hypothetical vaccines in a series of trade-off questions. The questions described vaccines with six attributes. A random-parameters logit regression model was used to estimate the relative importance weights physicians place on vaccine features. These weights were used to calculate the predicted probability that a physician chooses hypothetical vaccines with given characteristics. Results Pediatricians' choices indicated that increases in vaccine effectiveness were among the most important factors in their vaccine recommendations, followed by increases in the number of injections. The age at which protection begins and the number of additional office visits were less important. Whether a booster was required after 5 years was the least important factor in vaccine recommendations. The results suggest that virtually all (99.9%) physicians in the sample would recommend a vaccine even with the least-preferred features rather than no infant meningococcal vaccine. Conclusions Physicians' responses indicate a strong preference for infant meningococcal vaccination.
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