Background Influenza vaccines are underused. Methods Most (131/140) patients from a pediatric practice who were tested for influenza in the 2012-2013 season were enrolled. Medical records plus questionnaires determined vaccine and past disease histories and influenza vaccine attitudes. Influenza-negative tested cases (n = 65) and negative controls (n = 110) closely age-matched to 55 test-positive cases were compared with influenza-positive cases (n = 66) regarding prior influenza, vaccine efficacy, and limited vaccine season conflicting with birth dates and preventative visit timing to determine possible validity of reasons given for underutilization. Results The most common parental reason for not vaccinating was lack of perceived need. History of previous influenza was significantly (P < .0001) associated with disease. Live attenuated vaccine rates were greater in controls than in influenza patients for ages 2-18 years (P < .005) and for ages 6-18 years (P < .0001), whereas injectable vaccine rates were not (P = .30 and P = .60, respectively). Most positive cases (59%) and controls (89%) had no prior influenza. Conclusions Prior influenza disease may be a risk factor for infection that could influence vaccination benefit. Live attenuated influenza vaccine outperformed trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine. Limited disease experience in individuals with low influenza vaccination rates, along with vaccine efficacy limitations, lends validity to some underutilization.