Date of Conferral





Public Health


Mary Lou Gutierrez


Despite a 90% fatality rate and high risk of complications from influenza infection, vaccination coverage remains lower among African American (AA) and Hispanic American (HA) older adults. Health care professionals, families, and older adults are concerned with improving vaccination uptake. The purpose of this study was to examine differences among older adult AA and HA compared to European Americans (EA) on how their personal beliefs and perceptions affect vaccination uptake. The health belief model guided this study. The study research design was a quantitative cross-sectional analysis of the 2009 National H1N1 Flu Survey. Weighed prevalence of vaccine uptake indicated all groups, AA (59%), HA (62%), and EA (69%) were below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 90%. Differences in adjusted odds ratios indicated that compared to EA, AA were 5 times more likely to vaccinate if they perceived a benefit (vaccine effectiveness); however, HA were 3 times less likely to vaccinate even if they perceived vaccine was effective. Both AA and HA were 3 times less likely to vaccinate even if they felt susceptible (planned to get vaccine next season) to the influenza infection. While both groups were more likely to vaccinate if they did not perceive severity (not worried about getting sick with vaccine) or were cued to action by recommendation from their health professional, vaccination uptake was 4 times more likely among HA compared to EA while AA were just slightly more likely. The positive implications for social change include effective strategies to clarify perceptions that increase vaccination rates in racial and ethnic minority groups, and to target health professionals to recommend vaccine uptake for older adults during medical appointments.