Abstract and Introduction
Introduction: CDC estimates that influenza resulted in 9–41 million illnesses, 140,000–710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000–52,000 deaths annually during 2010–2020. Persons from some racial and ethnic minority groups have historically experienced higher rates of severe influenza and had lower influenza vaccination coverage compared with non-Hispanic White (White) persons. This report examines influenza hospitalization and vaccination rates by race and ethnicity during a 12–13-year period (through the 2021–22 influenza season).
Methods: Data from population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations in selected states participating in the Influenza-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) from the 2009–10 through 2021–22 influenza seasons (excluding 2020–21) and influenza vaccination coverage data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from the 2010–11 through 2021–22 influenza seasons were analyzed by race and ethnicity.
Results: From 2009–10 through 2021–22, age-adjusted influenza hospitalization rates (hospitalizations per 100,000 population) were higher among non-Hispanic Black (Black) (rate ratio [RR] = 1.8), American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN; RR = 1.3), and Hispanic (RR = 1.2) adults, compared with the rate among White adults. During the 2021–22 season, influenza vaccination coverage was lower among Hispanic (37.9%), AI/AN (40.9%), Black (42.0%), and other/multiple race (42.6%) adults compared with that among White (53.9%) and non-Hispanic Asian (Asian) (54.2%) adults; coverage has been consistently higher among White and Asian adults compared with that among Black and Hispanic adults since the 2010–11 season. The disparity in vaccination coverage by race and ethnicity was present among those who reported having medical insurance, a personal health care provider, and a routine medical checkup in the past year.
Conclusions and Implications for Public Health Practice: Racial and ethnic disparities in influenza disease severity and influenza vaccination coverage persist. Health care providers should assess patient vaccination status at all medical visits and offer (or provide a referral for) all recommended vaccines. Tailored programmatic efforts to provide influenza vaccination through nontraditional settings, along with national and community-level efforts to improve awareness of the importance of influenza vaccination in preventing illness, hospitalization, and death among racial and ethnic minority communities might help address health care access barriers and improve vaccine confidence, leading to decreases in disparities in influenza vaccination coverage and disease severity.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, and death. CDC estimates that influenza resulted in 9–41 million illnesses, 140,000–710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000–52,000 deaths annually during 2010–2020.[1,2] Annual vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months except when contraindicated. Vaccination provides important protection from influenza illness and its potential complications. For example, during the 2019–20 season, influenza vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths. Persons from some racial and ethnic minority groups experience higher rates of severe influenza and have lower influenza vaccination coverage rates compared with White persons.[5,6] This report presents 1) influenza hospitalization rates by race and ethnicity from the 2009–10 through 2021–22 seasons; 2) trends in influenza vaccination coverage by race and ethnicity from the 2010–11 through 2021–22 seasons; and 3) influenza vaccination coverage stratified by race and ethnicity and health care access variables for the 2021–22 season and possible reasons for observed disparities.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2022;71(43):1366-1373. © 2022 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)