Public Health and Primary CareORIGINAL ARTICLE

Disparities in seasonal influenza vaccine uptake and language preference among Hispanic US adults: an analysis of the 2017–2020 BRFSS

Del Perkins, BA; Angel Giron Lopez, MPH; Gregory Balcerak, BS; Benjamin Greiner, DO; and Micah Hartwell, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: July 12, 2022

Accepted: September 20, 2022

Published: October 12, 2022

  • Del Perkins, BA, 

    Office of Medical Student Research, Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, OK, USA

  • Angel Giron Lopez, MPH, 

    Office of Medical Student Research, Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, OK, USA

  • Gregory Balcerak, BS, 

    Office of Medical Student Research, Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, OK, USA

  • Benjamin Greiner, DO, 

    Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA

  • Micah Hartwell, PhD, 

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK, USA

Abstract

Context: Influenza-related hospitalization and mortality disproportionately affects the Hispanic population in the United States. Among other medical conditions in addition to influenza, Spanish-preferring Hispanics may be more affected than those who speak English.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare seasonal influenza vaccine uptake rates between Spanish-and English-preferring Hispanic US adults from 2017 to 2020.

Methods: For this cross-sectional study, we extracted data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from the 2017 through 2020 cycles. We calculated the population prevalence of individuals getting influenza vaccines per year, and among subpopulations based on language spoken, age, and sex. We then utilized chi-squared tests of independence to discover possible associations between these subpopulations per year. An alpha level of 0.05 was utilized in this study. Respondents were included if they identified as Hispanic, responded to questions regarding influenza vaccine uptake, and were grouped by the language of the survey returned, age, and sex.

Results: Our results show that self-identified Hispanic individuals who were English-preferring had greater seasonal influenza vaccine uptake rates in the latter 2 years of our study for both sexes in the younger age group. Hispanic individuals over the age of 65 years (n=11,328) were much more likely to have received an influenza vaccine compared to younger individuals (n=34,109). In 2018, Spanish-preferring women over age 65 years (n=677) were more likely to have received a vaccine over English-preferring women (n=772).

Conclusions: Our findings showed that disparities exist between English- and Spanish-preferring Hispanic individuals and age groups. Language barriers may play a role in receiving influenza vaccines. The incorporation of medical translators may assist in reducing these disparities in influenza-related healthcare expenses, overall morbidity, and mortality.

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