Local Labor Market Condition and Influenza Vaccination
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Influenza vaccination is a cost-effective preventive service, but its utilization rate is below the recommended level. Many studies have explored possible predictors and causes for low vaccination rates. Despite a large volume of studies in this area, there is limited research on how local economic conditions can affect individual influenza vaccination. This study explores this topic by merging the 2008–2012 individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) with the Area Health Resources Files (AHRF), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS). Using county-level unemployment rates as a measurement of local economic conditions, we used multivariate probit models to examine its relationship with individual flu vaccination while controlling for individual socioeconomic and demographic factors and contextual characteristics. We found that county-level unemployment rates were significantly and negatively associated with individual influenza vaccination, especially for people who were employed or living in metropolitan counties. Our results support public health interventions to improve flu vaccination during economic recessions.