Persistent Racial Disparities Seen in Flu Vaccine Coverage, 2021-2022

Flu: Age-adjusted influenza hospitalization rates were also higher among racial and minority adults.

Racial and ethnic disparities in U.S. flu hospital rates and flu vaccination coverage persist, according to research published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Carla L. Black, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined hospitalization and vaccination rates by race and ethnicity from 2009 to 2010 through the 2021 to 2022 seasons.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted hospitalization rates were higher among non-Hispanic Black (Black), American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN), and Hispanic adults compared with White adults from 2009 to 2010 through 2021 to 2022 (rate ratios, 1.8, 1.3, and 1.2, respectively). Flu vaccination coverage was lower among Hispanic, AI/AN, Black, and other/multiple race adults than Whites and non-Hispanic Asians (37.9, 40.9, 42.0, and 42.6 versus 53.9 and 54.2 percent, respectively) during the 2021 to 2022 season.

Since the 2010 to 2011 season, coverage was consistently higher for Whites and non-Hispanic Asians versus Black and Hispanic adults. The disparity in vaccination coverage by race and ethnicity was seen for those with medical insurance, those with a personal health care provider, and those who underwent a routine medical checkup in the past year.

“The findings in this report highlight persistent disparities in flu disease severity among adults in some racial and ethnic minority groups from 2009 to 2022, as well as continued disparities in vaccination coverage among adults during the same period,” the authors write.

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