H1N1 flu hospitalization rates for African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives were nearly two to one higher than rates for Whites during the 2009-2010 flu season, according to a new report, Fighting Flu Fatigue,from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). At the same time, both H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccination rates were lower for African Americans and Hispanics than for Whites.
During the 2009-2010 flu season:
• H1N1 vaccination rates were 11.5 percent lower for Hispanic adults than for Whites, although rates were 5.5 percent higher for Hispanic children; and
• Seasonal flu vaccination rates were 21.7 percent lower for Hispanic adults and 2.6 percent lower for Hispanic children than for Whites.
The flu is preventable with a vaccine - yet, each year, between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die from flu-related illnesses (based on a review of deaths from 1976 to 2007) and the flu contributes to more than $10 billion in lost productivity and direct medical expenses and $16 billion in lost potential earnings each year in the United States.
This year, for the first time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all Americans older than six months should get vaccination against the flu.