H1N1 flu hit minorities particularly hard

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African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska natives were nearly twice as likely as whites to be hospitalized for the flu during last year’s H1N1 pandemic, according to a new report. The Trust for America’s Health says vaccination rates for those minority groups were lower than for whites.

“They did not get vaccinated at the same rate, and so consequently were hospitalized at a greater rate,” says Dr. Ross. About 274,000 Americans were hospitalized and 12,000 died from the H1N1 outbreak.

The report calls for education and a concerted outreach to minority groups to address negative beliefs and misinformation, as well as better access to flu shots for people who are uninsured or who don’t receive regular medical care. It further advises health care workers to get vaccinated themselves to help protect the vulnerable people they come in contact with (ACSH has previously advocated for mandatory influenza vaccinations for healthcare workers).