Flu Shots: Racial Disparities in Teens Who Get Them


African-American teens get flu vaccines at lower rates than white or Hispanic adolescents, according to a study from Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, which also found that teens have lower flu shot rates than other age groups overall. Results of this study were published in Public Health Reports.

This research involved healthcare provider-reported vaccination histories on 117,273 adolescents ages 13 to 17. The data, from the National Immunization Survey, covered the period between 2010-2016 — after the Affordable Care Act was enacted and vaccines were offered at no or low cost. Early in the study period, Hispanic teens had higher flu vaccination rates than whites — a disparity that tapered off over time. By 2016, flu vaccination rates were similar in Hispanic and white adolescents but significantly lower in African-American teens.

According to FSU researchers, this disparity is important for several reasons. One is that teenage African Americans are more likely to live in multigenerational homes, increasing the risk that unvaccinated teens could spread the flu to younger children and older family members, including grandparents.

Sourced from: Public Health Reports