CONTACT: Seth Boffeli, Communications Director, 608-266-1683
HEALTH OFFICIALS TO FOCUS ON MINORITY VACCINATION
Minority Groups 2-3 Times More Likely to be
Hospitalized with H1N1
MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services kicked off
National Influenza Vaccination Week this week by calling on local public
health departments to step up their H1N1 vaccination efforts in minority
communities. DHS released a report showing that H1N1 hospitalizations for
minority populations were higher in the 2009 fall outbreak.
"Based on these numbers it is clear that in addition to those with
underlying health conditions, minorities should be considered a priority
for vaccination efforts in 2010," said State Health Officer Dr. Seth
Foldy. "There are many factors that play into this trend, which
exists in several communities in our state. That means that we need to use
many different approaches to try and protect these communities prior to a
possible third wave of influenza."
In Wisconsin, the number of H1N1 hospitalizations per 100,000
population this fall was 40.2 among African Americans compared to 13.0
among Non-Hispanic whites, a 3.1-fold difference. Similar disparities
existed for Native Americans who were 3.4 times more likely to be
hospitalized, Hispanics who were 2.6 times more likely to be hospitalized
and Asians who were 2.1 times as likely when compared to Whites.
Some explanations for this variation in hospitalization rates include:
- Wisconsin's African-American and Hispanic populations are younger,
on average, than non-Hispanic whites, with children and younger adults
experiencing the highest rates of H1N1 infection.
- Wisconsin's minority populations often have higher rates of
diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and other conditions that are risk
factors for severe influenza, which could increase their risk of
hospitalization for H1N1 infection.
- Wisconsin's minority populations may have less access to healthcare
overall, which can result in less use of preventive antiviral therapy
or in waiting until patients are sicker before seeing a medical
- Lower vaccination rates historically mean that minority populations
are less likely to seek vaccine.
DHS has been promoting the H1N1 vaccine to African-American, Hispanic
and Hmong populations through English and foreign language radio ads.
Additional advertising has recently been added to Native American radio
programs and the Department is currently planning an additional campaign
targeted specifically at minority populations.
Details from the report including specific numbers for some counties
can be found at: http://www.flu.wisconsin.gov/mediaroom.asp?locid=106
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Last Revised: July 12, 2010