A Doctor's Advice, a Patient's Race Influence Flu Shot Rates

A Doctor's Advice, a Patient's Race Influence Flu Shot Rates

A Doctor's Advice, a Patient's Race Influence Flu Shot Rates

Blacks less likely than whites to get immunized, survey shows

SOURCE: Henry Ford Health System, news release, Feb. 23, 2015

TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A doctor's recommendation and a patient's race may play a big role in whether or not people get an annual flu shot, new research reveals.

Researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit surveyed about 475 patients and found that 90 percent of them followed through on a doctor's advice to receive the flu vaccine. But just 58 percent of those whose doctor didn't recommend vaccination got a flu shot.

The researchers also found that 93 percent of white people and 84 percent of Asians got vaccinated, compared to 62 percent of black people. They suggested lower vaccination rates among black people could reflect less trust in the benefits of the flu shot.

The survey was completed by adults treated at one of six Henry Ford clinics between April and August 2013. The volunteers were also asked if they had received a flu vaccination the previous year and how they felt about flu vaccination.

Vaccination rates were four times higher among those who believed receiving the vaccine would protect them, the study authors said.

"What our findings show is that we need to improve our communications between physicians and patients about the benefits of the flu vaccination," study author Dr. Melissa Skupin, a fellow at Henry Ford Hospital, said in a hospital news release.

"Our study showed the benefit of physicians who take a proactive approach in recommending vaccination to their patients. At the same time, we need to re-think our strategy for addressing the perceptions and myths associated with vaccination," she added.

"The misinformation out there is pervasive," she said.

Although many people worry about potential reactions to the flu shot, these concerns don't seem to prevent them from getting vaccinated, according to the study. It was to be presented Monday at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting in Houston.

Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on U.S. flu vaccination rates.

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