Racial Disparities Seen Among Teens Undergoing Flu Vaccination

Dec 14, 2018 (HealthDay News)

Racial disparities exist among adolescents undergoing influenza vaccination, with lower odds of vaccination among black versus white adolescents, according to a study recently published in Public Health Reports.

Noah S. Webb, from Florida State University in Tallahassee, and colleagues analyzed provider-reported vaccination histories from the National Immunization Survey-Teen for 2010 to 2016. Trends in influenza vaccination rates were determined by race/ethnicity for 117,273 adolescents.

The researchers found that Hispanic adolescents had higher odds and black adolescents had lower odds of vaccination compared with white adolescents (adjusted odds ratios, 1.11 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.06 to 1.16] and 0.95 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.90 to 1.00], respectively). The probabilities of vaccination were higher for Hispanic adolescents versus white adolescents for 2011 to 2013 (2011, 0.22; 2012, 0.23; and 2013, 0.26; all P <0.001). Black adolescents had significantly lower probabilities of vaccination for 2016 compared with white adolescents (2016, 0.21; P < 0.001).

“Vaccinating more adolescents could strengthen herd immunity, which could ultimately protect vulnerable populations and reduce the direct and indirect costs associated with influenza,” the authors write. “Shifting the emphasis from immunizing the youngest and oldest age groups to immunizing school-aged children and adolescents could have beneficial effects on influenza transmission rates for the entire population.”

Abstract/Full Text