Factors Associated with Differential Uptake of Seasonal Influenza Immunizations Among Underserved Communities During the 2009–2010 Influenza Season
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- Vlahov, D., Bond, K.T., Jones, K.C. et al. J Community Health (2012) 37: 282. doi:10.1007/s10900-011-9443-x
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Influenza vaccination coverage remains low and disparities persist. In New York City, a community-based participatory research project (Project VIVA) worked to address this issue in Harlem and the South Bronx by supplementing existing vaccination programs with non-traditional venues (i.e., community-based organizations). We conducted a 10 min survey to assess access to influenza vaccine as well as attitudes and beliefs towards influenza vaccination that could inform intervention development for subsequent seasons. Among 991 participants recruited using street intercept techniques, 63% received seasonal vaccine only, 11% seasonal and H1N1, and 26% neither; 89% reported seeing a health care provider (HCP) during the influenza season. Correlates of immunization among those with provider visits during the influenza season included being US-born, interest in getting the vaccine, concern about self or family getting influenza, an HCP’s recommendation and comfort with government. Among those without an HCP visit, factors associated with immunization included being US born, married, interest in getting the vaccine, understanding influenza information, and concern about getting influenza. Factors associated with lack of interest in influenza vaccine included being born outside the US, Black and uncomfortable with government. In medically underserved areas, having access to routine medical care and understanding the medical implications of influenza play an important role in enhancing uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination. Strategies to improve vaccination rates among Blacks and foreign-born residents need to be addressed. The use of non-traditional venues to provide influenza vaccinations in underserved communities has the potential to reduce health disparities.