Disparities in influenza immunization among US adults

J Natl Med Assoc. 2009 Feb;101(2):161-6. doi: 10.1016/s0027-9684(15)30830-0.


In the United States, health disparities exist among ethnic minority groups, the uninsured, and those with other barriers to health care access. Health disparities exist for many diseases, but are especially pronounced for preventive health services and preventable diseases. Persons affected by disparities experience higher incidences of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as influenza, and are more likely to die from those diseases as well. Although influenza vaccines are relatively safe, inexpensive, and effective in reducing infection and disease complications, many groups in the United States do not yet benefit from this potentially lifesaving intervention. Possible explanations for disparities in influenza vaccination include: (1) barriers to access such as cost, insurance status, and language differences; (2) underestimation of personal risk and misunderstanding of vaccination risks; (3) mistrust toward the health care system. Proposed strategies to minimize these disparities include: (1) changes to health care system structural factors that serve as access barriers, (2) education to increase awareness and improve demand for vaccines, (3) involvement of community-based organizations to assess local needs and design responsive solutions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Immunization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Orthomyxoviridae
  • United States


  • Influenza Vaccines