Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 12, pp 1624–1630

Can Routine Offering of Influenza Vaccination in Office-Based Settings Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Adult Influenza Vaccination?

  • Jürgen Maurer
  • Katherine M. Harris
  • Lori Uscher-Pines
Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-014-2965-z

Cite this article as:
Maurer, J., Harris, K.M. & Uscher-Pines, L. J GEN INTERN MED (2014) 29: 1624. doi:10.1007/s11606-014-2965-z



Influenza vaccination remains below the federally targeted levels outlined in Healthy People 2020. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to be vaccinated for influenza, despite being at increased risk for influenza-related complications and death. Also, vaccinated minorities are more likely to receive influenza vaccinations in office-based settings and less likely to use non-medical vaccination locations compared to non-Hispanic white vaccine users.


To assess the number of “missed opportunities” for influenza vaccination in office-based settings by race and ethnicity and the magnitude of potential vaccine uptake and reductions in racial and ethnic disparities in influenza vaccination if these “missed opportunities” were eliminated.


National cross-sectional Internet survey administered between March 4 and March 14, 2010 in the United States.


Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic and non-Hispanic white adults living in the United States (N = 3,418).


We collected data on influenza vaccination, frequency and timing of healthcare visits, and self-reported compliance with a potential provider recommendation for vaccination during the 2009–2010 influenza season. “Missed opportunities” for seasonal influenza vaccination in office-based settings were defined as the number of unvaccinated respondents who reported at least one healthcare visit in the Fall and Winter of 2009–2010 and indicated their willingness to get vaccinated if a healthcare provider strongly recommended it. “Potential vaccine uptake” was defined as the sum of actual vaccine uptake and “missed opportunities.”


The frequency of “missed opportunities” for influenza vaccination in office-based settings was significantly higher among racial and ethnic minorities than non-Hispanic whites. Eliminating these “missed opportunities” could have cut racial and ethnic disparities in influenza vaccination by roughly one half.


Improved office-based practices regarding influenza vaccination could significantly impact Healthy People 2020 goals by increasing influenza vaccine uptake and reducing corresponding racial and ethnic disparities.


influenza vaccinationracial and ethnic disparitieshealthcare provider behavior

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen Maurer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Katherine M. Harris
    • 3
    • 2
  • Lori Uscher-Pines
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Health Economics and ManagementUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.RAND CorporationArlingtonUSA
  3. 3.MedStar Health Research InstituteHyattsvilleUSA