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Immunization of Ethnic and Racial Groups for Ob-Gyns

Racial and ethnic minority populations have considerably lower rates of flu vaccination than the general population. Close to 5,000 African-Americans and 2,000 Hispanics die each year due to influenza and pneumonia-related complications. The Journal of the National Medical Association published an article, “Disparities in Influenza Immunization Among US Adults” by Jennifer L. Logan, MD, MPH, which addresses these issues in more depth.

The role of physicians and other health care providers in increasing immunization rates, particularly in minority and under-served communities, is key. According to the CDC, evidence-based interventions targeted at reaching minority populations—including the use of reminder/recalls systems, standing orders for vaccination, and regular assessments of vaccination coverage levels among provider practices, immunization registries, and improving public provider awareness of the importance of immunizations for adults—are needed to eliminate these disparities. Click the links below for patient and physician resources from ACOG and other partner organizations.


  • NEW! Spanish Language Patient Frequently Asked Questions: Flu, Tdap and Vaccine Safety

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Indian Health Service:

National Medical Association (NMA):

Last Updated: 9/10/2013

Immunization of Ethnic and Racial Groups for Patients

Many vaccine-preventable diseases including seasonal influenza (flu) affect certain ethnic and racial groups at a higher rate. In particular, the flu is also more severe in racial and ethnic groups than in the overall population. Getting the vaccine is the best way to prevent catching the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers free resources on the flu for minority groups.

These groups include:

  • Blacks or African Americans

  • American Indians and Alaska Natives

  • Asian Americans

  • Hispanics or Latinos

  • Other Pacific Islanders

  • Others

In addition to a vaccine against the flu, there are vaccines for many other diseases that these ethnic and racial groups are at higher risk for contracting. See the list below. In some minority groups, many adults did not get recommended vaccines as children. This has led to an increase in the rate of infection among these groups. The risk of serious complications from infection is also higher in these groups. The best way to prevent the spread of these diseases is by getting the vaccines.

In addition to the flu, vaccines can also prevent:

  • Bacterial meningitis

  • Measles, mumps, rubella (German measles)

  • Polio

  • Diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus (lockjaw)

  • Hepatitis A, hepatitis B

  • Pneumococcal diseases

  • Varicella (chickenpox)

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Rotavirus

  • Herpes zoster (shingles)

The CDC has a special department dedicated to improving minority health called the Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities (OMHD). Visit CDC's resource page for influenza vaccine information for racial and ethnic populations or American Indian/Alaska Natives.

The Indian Health Service also has resources for the health of American Indian and Alaska Native populations, including vaccination.

Talk to your health care provider about what vaccines you may need for your children as well as those that you may have missed as a child and can catch up on now.

Last Updated: 9/10/2013

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