Unpacking Intersectional Inequities in Flu Vaccination by Sexuality, Gender, and Race-Ethnicity in the United States

J Health Soc Behav. 2024 Mar;65(1):38-59. doi: 10.1177/00221465231199276. Epub 2023 Sep 30.


Health care research has long overlooked the intersection of multiple social inequalities. This study examines influenza vaccination inequities at the intersection of sexuality, gender, and race-ethnicity. Using data from the 2013 to 2018 National Health Interview Survey (N = 166,908), the study shows that sexual, gender, and racial-ethnic identities jointly shaped flu vaccination. Specifically, White gay men had the highest vaccination rate (56%), while Black bisexual women had the lowest rate (23%). Across Black, Hispanic, and White individuals, sexual minority women had lower vaccination rates than heterosexual women, but sexual minority men had higher or similar vaccination rates than heterosexual men. Economic enabling, noneconomic enabling, and need-based factors together explained a substantial portion of these gaps. However, they cannot explain all the disadvantages faced by Black lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women and Black heterosexual men. Findings offer new evidence of hidden health care inequities and inform health policies from an intersectional perspective.

Keywords: BMHSU; health care; intersectionality; sexual orientation.

MeSH terms

  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Health Inequities*
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines* / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Racial Groups*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • United States
  • Vaccination* / statistics & numerical data


  • Influenza Vaccines