HealthDay News — For U.S. patients undergoing dialysis, the proportion receiving influenza vaccination is lower at facilities with higher proportions of Black and Hispanic patients, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
John Danziger, M.D., M.Phil., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined whether the proportion of patients vaccinated for influenza at a dialysis facility varied according to the facility’s racial and ethnic composition. Data were included for 6,735 Medicare-certified facilities operating between 2014 and 2017.
The researchers found that the mean percentage of patients vaccinated during the influenza season was 72.1 percent among dialysis facilities. Compared with less diverse facilities, those with higher proportions of Black and Hispanic patients had significantly lower vaccination percentages. From 2014 to 2017, there was a significant decrease seen in the average proportion of patients vaccinated at each facility (decrease of 1.05 percent per year); among facilities with higher minority proportions, decreases were significantly greater. The decrease in the proportion of vaccinated patients was 1.21 and 0.88 percent per year for facilities in the quartile with the highest and lowest proportion of Black patients, respectively. Similar trends were seen for Hispanic patients.
“The failure to uniformly vaccinate patients seen in facilities with larger minority populations has important implications for those individuals and for their communities, and is a missed opportunity to protect the most vulnerable,” Danziger said in a statement.