Flu Vaccinations Decreasing Among Black Children

CDC report finds vaccinations are down 11 percent among young African Americans.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is wrapping up, but the need for flu vaccines, especially among Black children, is still needed.

The Associated Press reports that a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found 33 percent of Black children were vaccinated against the flu at the end of November. That’s down from 44 percent the same time last year. 

Flu vaccinations are important for people from racial and ethnic minority groups who are often less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to be hospitalized with the flu, according to the CDC. Analysis of flu hospitalization rates by race and ethnicity during 10 flu seasons from 2009-2010 through 2018-2019 show that non-Hispanic Black individuals had the highest flu-related hospitalization rates.

In Arkansas, state Health Secretary Dr. José Romero has been stressing the importance of the flu vaccine this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccine can help lower the number of people who may need to be hospitalized because of the flu, which is helpful to health care systems that are already being taxed by the pandemic.

The Arkansas Minority Health Commission is working to bring Christmas Drive Thru Vaccinationvaccinations to Arkansans with special events. AMCH is hosting Community Drive Thru Christmas events from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Lee County Cooperative Clinic in Marianna Dec. 23 and from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 23 at the Hughes Satellite Clinic. 

In addition to free COVID-19 screening and flu shots, there will also be health and wellness materials, COVID-19 survival kits, community resources for the family and door prizes.

The Arkansas Department of Health offers walk-in flu shots at Local Health Units across the state. There is no out-of-pocket expense for flu shots, but you are encouraged to bring insurance information if you have it. 

In its Weekly Influenza Report, ADH reported 2 more influenza-related deaths bringing the total to 6 deaths during this flu season. Since September 27, 2020, 500 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. Reported cases reflect only a portion of the actual numbers of flu cases in the state.