NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 11, 2004

Flu shots can help close the health care gap between minorities and whites, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, particularly for those aged 50 and older, pregnant women and those living with children under the age of 2.

According to the Bonnie Word of the Baylor College of Medicine and Jose Cordero of Texas Children's Hospital:

  • Among adults age 65 and older, 69 percent of whites get flu shots, compared to only 59 percent of Hispanics and 48 percent of African-Americans in 1997.
  • In 2002, the rate for whites had remained the same, while the rate for African-Americans rose 2 points to 50 percent, but the rate for Hispanics dropped 10 points to 49 percent.
  • Minorities who are not fluent in English are less likely to be know or be told by their doctors to get flu shots for themselves and their children.

Moreover, the myth is common that people can get the flu from the vaccine, but in reality, the vaccine is manufactured with dead viruses.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends flu shots for all adults age 50 and older, pregnant women, children between the ages of 6 months to 23 months and those who are in close contact with them. People with chronic conditions should obtain flu shots as well.

Source: Andrew Mollison, "More People Advised to Get Flu Shots," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 6, 2004


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