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March 01, 2021

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD

For Immediate Release

1 March 2021 | Washington, DC

Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity Study Finds Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Flu Vaccine Uptake Among People Aged 65 and Older in the USA

WASHINGTON, D.C.—National Minority Quality Forum’s (NMQF) Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity (SHC) announced today that a new study featuring SHC research reveals significant racial and ethnic disparities within seasonal influenza vaccine uptake among people aged 65 and older. 

Co-authored by NMQF’s Dr. Liou Xu, Ph.D., Dr. Laura Lee Hall, Ph.D., and Dr. Gary A. Puckrein, Ph.D., and experts from Sanofi Pasteur, The Lancet Healthy Longevity journal published the study’s findings that show Asians, Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to receive a seasonal influenza vaccine than whites–based on records from 26.5 million Medicare beneficiaries. More than half of white people aged 65 and older receive the High Dose Vaccine (a more effective influenza vaccine), while minorities also over the age of 65 are 26%-32% less likely to receive the HDV in comparison. 

“These findings are alarming because they point to a level of disparity that can hamper efforts to reduce the burden not just of flu, but for other vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr. Laura Lee Hall, Ph.D., President of SHC.

“While people of color may face more challenges in terms of accessing health care due to lack of providers, costs, health literacy issues, and other social determinants, these factors are themselves the results of deeply ingrained discrimination and implicit bias in the health system and broader society. These failings must urgently be addressed if we are to increase uptake of vaccines among minority groups.”

This study shows that the systemic failings may also be relevant for other vaccines, including COVID-19, which has proven to be disproportionately affecting Blacks and other minorities. 

Read the full paper on the “Effect of race and ethnicity on influenza vaccine uptake among older US Medicare beneficiaries: a record-linkage cohort study” in The Lancet Healthy Longevity: 

Download the Full Press Release


About the National Minority Quality Forum
The National Minority Quality Forum assists health care providers, professionals, administrators, researchers, policymakers, and community and faith-based organizations in delivering appropriate health care to minority communities. This assistance is based on providing the evidence in the form of science, research, and analysis that will lead to the effective organization and management of system resources to improve the quality and safety of health care for the entire population of the U.S., including minorities. For more information, please visit

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