The mediating effects of barriers to vaccination on the relationship between race/ethnicity and influenza vaccination status in a rural Southeastern Louisiana medical center.


Influenza Vaccination
Adult Vaccination
Medication Analysis


Introduction: Persistent disparities in influenza vaccination rates exist between racial/ethnic minorities and Whites. The mechanisms that define this relationship are under-researched.

Objectives: (1) To evaluate racial/ethnic disparities in influenza vaccination and (2) to assess the mediating effects of barriers to influenza vaccination on the relationship between race/ethnicity and receipt of influenza vaccination.

Methods: Surveys assessing barriers to vaccination were administered to outpatients in a rural medical center in Southeastern Louisiana. Survey responses were matched to patient medical records. Likert-style statements were used to measure barriers to vaccination.. A mediation analysis assessing the relationship between race and influenza vaccination mediated by vaccination barriers was conducted. 

Results: The self-reported influenza vaccination rate in those surveyed was 40.4%. Whites (45.5%) were more likely than racial/ethnic minorities (36.3%) to report receipt of an influenza vaccination (p=0.02). Racial/ethnic minorities reported significantly higher vaccination barrier scores (p<0.01). The relationship between race/ethnicity and vaccination was mediated by vaccination barriers, when controlling for provider recommendation and having at least one comorbid medical condition (natural indirect effect [NIE] p-value=0.02, proportion mediated=0.71).

Conclusions: Barriers to vaccination mediates the relationship between race/ethnicity and vaccination status. Providers should focus on minimizing fears that the vaccine will cause illness and emphasize that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing severe influenza-associated illness. Additional efforts should be made to improve accessibility of the influenza vaccine, including addressing costs of vaccination and expanding the number and types of settings where the vaccine is offered.


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