Race May Be Factor in Who Gets Flu Shots

Older black Americans getting fewer vaccinations than older whites, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Older black Americans have drastically lower flu vaccination rates than older white Americans, says a Duke University Medical Center study in the online journal BioMed Central Public Health.

The study found that, in 2000, about 60 percent of black women and 68 percent of black men in the United States received a flu shot.

"We see a 10 percent to 20 percent point gap in vaccination rates between blacks and whites. Even when we adjust for socioeconomic, health and health variables, this difference still persists," lead author Dr. Truls Ostbye, a professor in Duke's department of community and family medicine, says in a prepared statement.

"More research is needed to understand the cultural issues that may be a barrier to vaccination in this population," Ostbye says.

The study also found that while vaccination rates for older Americans are increasing, elderly Americans as a group remain under-vaccinated for flu.

"The elderly are most at risk from influenza, and it is a serious public health concern," Ostbye says.

To encourage more people in certain groups to get a flu shot, the study authors recommend clinical interventions and public health campaigns that are culturally appropriate.

Overall, there's been a steady increase in flu vaccinations among Americans of all ages, genders and races, the study says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about influenza.

Related Stories

No stories found.