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Vaccine. 2012 Nov 6;30(48):6927-34. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.08.036. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Perceptions matter: beliefs about influenza vaccine and vaccination behavior among elderly white, black and Hispanic Americans.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Immunization Services Division, 1600 Clifton Road MS-A19, Atlanta, GA 30030, USA.



Knowledge and beliefs about influenza vaccine that differ across racial or ethnic groups may promote racial or ethnic disparities in vaccination.


To identify associations between vaccination behavior and personal beliefs about influenza vaccine by race or ethnicity and education levels among the U.S. elderly population.


Data from a national telephone survey conducted in 2004 were used for this study. Responses for 3875 adults ≥ 65 years of age were analyzed using logistic regression methods.


Racial and ethnic differences in beliefs were observed. For example, whites were more likely to believe influenza vaccine is very effective in preventing influenza compared to blacks and Hispanics (whites, 60%; blacks, 47%, and Hispanics, 51%, p<0.01). Among adults who believed the vaccine is very effective, self-reported vaccination was substantially higher across all racial/ethnic groups (whites, 93%; blacks, 76%; Hispanics, 78%) compared to adults who believed the vaccine was only somewhat effective (whites 67%; blacks 61%, Hispanics 61%). Also, vaccination coverage differed by education level and personal beliefs of whites, blacks, and Hispanics.


Knowledge and beliefs about influenza vaccine may be important determinants of influenza vaccination among racial/ethnic groups. Strategies to increase coverage should highlight the burden of influenza disease in racial and ethnic populations, the benefits and safety of vaccinations and personal vulnerability to influenza disease if not vaccinated. For greater effectiveness, factors associated with the education levels of some communities may need to be considered when developing or implementing new strategies that target specific racial or ethnic groups.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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