A Call for Community-Driven
Equity in Flu Vaccination


NMQF convened experts, clinicians, and community leaders to review flu vaccination equity and identify any necessary steps to assure protection for communities of color. Persistent growing racial and ethnic flu vaccine disparities were found. With the continuing impact of COVID-19 and mistrust, expanded efforts are needed, in collaboration with community leaders, to optimally protect communities of color from the flu and COVID-19.


There are growing racial and ethnic disparities in flu vaccination despite their increasing importance.

Inequity in flu vaccination among people of color is large and growing, including in public programs and nursing homes.

Flu vaccine disparities place communities of color at increased risk of serious illness and death from the flu at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a large toll and threatens to do so again in the 2020-21 flu season.

Reducing respiratory illnesses in the community is important to protect at-risk populations and the healthcare system that serves them.

Primary care teams, pharmacists, specialists, other care providers, community leaders, and patient advocates can close the gap.

With quality improvement methods and a strong recommendation, healthcare teams can increase flu vaccination rates in their patients. COVID-19’s impact requires the involvement from more types of providers and strategies to safely ease vaccine access. The voice of community leaders and advocates will be essential to educate the public about the risks posed by the flu and the safety, efficacy, and importance of flu vaccines.

Approximately 49% of the U.S. population chose to get a flu vaccine during the 2018-2019 flu season, which prevented millions of flu illnesses, flu hospitalizations and flu deaths – as depicted here:

Source: Hall LL, Xu L, Mahmud SM, Puckrein GA, Thommes EW, Chit A. A Map of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Influenza Vaccine Uptake in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program. Adv Ther. 2020;37(5):2224-2235.

People of color are less likely to receive a high dose influenza vaccine in the Medicare program.

Source: Bosco E et al.,Geographic Variation in Pneumonia and Influenza in Long-term Care Facilities: A National Study. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2020 (Under Review)

Black residents of nursing homes are increasingly less likely to receive a flu vaccine compared to a White resident.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
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