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Race Influences Elderly Flu Shots

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AMHERST, Mass., Jun 30, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A study by the University of Massachusetts suggests older Americans are less likely to get an annual flu vaccination if they are black or Hispanic.

The study, published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, found similar results with those who do not receive regular medical checkups.

Only 28 percent of older black or Hispanic people who did not undergo a medical exam during the last year had a current flu shot, said Stephenie Lemon, the leader of the study.

Married white people, aged 75 and older who'd had a recent checkup, were mostly likely to get vaccinated, with 80 percent receiving their flu shot within the past year.

Although it is becoming more common to get a flu shot at a drugstore, shopping mall or community center, the survey suggests "only modest success of these community-based outreach efforts," Lemon said.

Flu and its complications are the fifth-leading cause of death among elderly people in the United States.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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