Racial and ethnic disparities in influenza vaccination coverage among adults during the 2004-2005 season.Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Mar 15; 163(6):571-8.AJ
During the 2004-2005 influenza season, the supply of vaccine to the United States was significantly reduced. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued interim recommendations for prioritizing vaccination. Given trends in racial/ethnic disparities in vaccination for influenza, the authors assessed the impact of the shortage on those historically less likely to be vaccinated. Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, they considered vaccination coverage among those non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanics who had priority for being vaccinated during the 2004-2005 influenza season. The vaccine shortage had a significant negative effect on coverage among adults aged 65 years or older across the three racial/ethnic groups. Yet, the magnitude of the disparities in coverage did not change significantly from previous seasons. This finding may imply similar patterns of vaccine-seeking behavior during shortage and nonshortage years. No racial/ethnic differences were seen among adults aged 18-64 years, which likely reflects the higher percentage of health-care workers in this age group. Yearly monitoring of influenza vaccine coverage is important to assess the long-term impact of shortages on overall coverage and gaps in coverage between racial/ethnic groups.