H1N1 flu hospitalization rates were higher—while H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccination rates were lower—among African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indian/Alaska Natives than whites, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health.
Last year’s flu pandemic, which infected about 20 percent of the U.S. population and led to about 274,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths, resulted in historically high rates of flu vaccinations, the report noted.
Still, during the 2009-10 flu season, the African-American hospitalization rate was 29.7 per 100,000 people compared with the white hospitalization rate of 16.3 per 100,000 people, and vaccination rates for the deadly H1N1 virus were 9.8 percent lower for African-American adults and 4.2 percent lower for African-American children than for white children.
Meanwhile, seasonal flu vaccinations were 16.5 percent lower for African-American adults than white adults and 5.6 percent lower for African-American children than white children. The report’s findings also showed that the H1N1 vaccination rate was 11.5 percent lower for Hispanic adults than for whites, although the rate was 5.5 percent higher for Hispanic children than white children.
For the seasonal flu, the vaccination rates were 21.7 percent lower for Hispanic adults and 2.6 percent lower for Hispanic children than whites.
The report also said that all healthcare personnel should receive the seasonal vaccine. As of last January, the report said, 62 percent of health care workers had been vaccinated against seasonal flu and only 37 percent received an H1N1 shot.
“Health care providers are role models as well as trusted sources of information,” the report said. “Americans are less likely to trust the safety of vaccines if their providers are not vaccinated, and no one should ever get the flu from their doctor, nurse of medical technician.”