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Prev Med. 2010 Mar;50(3):148-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.12.001. Epub 2009 Dec 11.

Are those who use specific complementary and alternative medicine therapies less likely to be immunized?

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Penn State College of Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 35 Hope Dr., Suite 104, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.



Some authorities are concerned that the use of complementary and alternative medications (CAM) may replace recommended preventive health practices. This study was done to determine if users of individual types of CAM were less likely to receive recommended immunizations.


We used data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey of over 23,000 adult, non-institutionalized U.S. citizens using bivariate and multivariate analysis to determine if users of individual types of CAM were less likely to receive influenza and/or pneumococcal vaccinations.


Using a weighted logistic regression analysis, we found that respondents who used chiropractic care were less likely to receive flu shots (OR=0.68, CI=0.55,0.83, p<0.001). There was a mildly positive trend toward receiving the pneumococcal vaccine in users of deep breathing exercises and toward not receiving both in followers of qi gong. Prayer use was prevalent and had a positive impact on receiving immunizations, especially in Blacks and those in poor health. Regular exercise, having a primary care provider and more frequent office visits were also positively associated with receiving immunizations.


Chiropractic users are less likely to get flu shots, perhaps reflecting their national body's attitude, which could affect morbidity and mortality. Providers should be aware of their patients' CAM use and encourage accepted primary care practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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