Introduction: California has experienced its worst outbreak of pertussis in 50 y. In preparing for such outbreaks of pertussis, vaccine providers in the state play a key role in educating patients about the public health implications of vaccination, explaining the benefits to immunization, and facilitating patients' receipt of recommended immunizations.
Methods: We conducted a survey of 800 California vaccine providers to investigate provider level response to recent pertussis outbreaks and regulation by provider type and geography.
Results: Sixty-nine percent (533/777) of vaccine providers within the state of California responded to the survey. Fifty-three percent (278/527) of vaccine providers indicated that it was part of standard care at their practice or pharmacy location to ask adult patients about pertussis vaccine (Table 1) and this varied across practice types (P < 0.0001). Fifty-seven percent of providers (270/476) indicated that the information they received from the state about pertussis during the 2010 California pertussis outbreak was very useful or useful, while 52% of providers indicated this information was neutral, not useful, not at all useful. Vaccine administration, patient groups seen, and challenges varied by provider type however meaningful differences among subpopulations to which the vaccine was administered were found between provider types (P < 0.001, Table 2).
Conclusion: The 2010 pertussis outbreak in California challenged vaccine providers in a way that changed the preparation, promotion, and planning for future outbreaks and emergency situations. Adaptability to the new state law and increased awareness of pertussis in the physician community were important in the number of patients receiving the vaccine. Also, forming partnerships with schools and health agencies were important in facilitating and promoting wide spread vaccination.