A new study in the June issue of JAMDA examines racial and ethnic disparities in influenza vaccination among adults in nursing homes and what may factor into the statistical differences among these groups.

In “Decomposing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Nursing Home Influenza Vaccination,” authors analyzed data for 630,373 short-stay and 1,029,593 long-stay nursing home residents. The researchers found that among short-stay residents, the proportion vaccinated against influenza was 67.2 percent for White residents, 55.1 percent for Black residents, and 54.5 percent for Hispanic residents.

The numbers were higher for long-stay residents, at 84.2 percent for White individuals, 76.7 percent for Black, and 80.8 percent for Hispanic.

Characteristics associated with decreased likelihood of influenza vaccination among short-stay residents included payer source, higher acuity index, percent of residents on an antipsychotic, and certified nurse assistant (CNA) hours per resident, the report said.

The authors noted that low vaccination rates may affect all individuals if ambulatory short-stay residents are able to move freely around the facility, potentially exposing others to respiratory illness.

In conclusion, the findings show that “measures associated with nursing home quality of care were important positive contributors to the disparity in influenza vaccination. Tracking vaccination rates in nursing homes to detect and intervene locally upon racial/ethnic differences may mitigate disparities until more detailed qualitative data is available to inform improvements to health care policy.”

The study was conducted by researchers at a number of domestic and international universities, including the Department of Health Services, Policy, and Practice, Brown University School of Public Health, and the Leslie Dan School of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, in Canada.

Click here for more information about the study.