Trends in Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Disparities between U.S. Non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics, 2000-2009

Andrew E. Burger, Utah State University

Seasonal influenza produces substantial mortality, morbidity, and economic burdens within the United States every year. Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines for influenza, millions of individuals go unvaccinated each flu season, with notable differences across racial/ethnic groups. We employ the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to examine vaccination rates among non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics during the 2000-2009 influenza seasons. After developing a new method that addresses shortcomings of BRFSS vaccination measures, we find that non-Hispanic whites exhibit higher vaccination rates than Hispanics – and that this disparity has widened over the decade. However, through a series of logistic regression models we also show that disparities between non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics narrow considerably after controlling for health insurance coverage and socioeconomic characteristics. Our findings suggest that seasonal influenza vaccination may be improved among U.S. Hispanics by addressing structural barriers to receiving the vaccine, especially access to health care.

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Presented in Poster Session 5