Doctor's Advice Can Impact Flu Vaccination Rates

Doctor's Advice Can Impact Flu Vaccination Rates
Doctor's Advice Can Impact Flu Vaccination Rates

(HealthDay News) — A doctor's recommendation and a patient's race may play a big role in whether or not people get an annual flu vaccine, according to new research scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from February 20–24 in Houston.

Researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit surveyed 472 patients treated at one of six Henry Ford clinics between April and August 2013. The volunteers were also asked if they had received a flu vaccination the previous year and how they felt about flu vaccination.

The researchers found that 90% of the patients followed through on a doctor's advice to receive the flu vaccine. But just 58% of those whose doctor didn't recommend vaccination got a flu vaccine. The researchers also found that 93% of white people and 84% of Asians got vaccinated, compared to 62% of black people. They suggested lower vaccination rates among black people could reflect less trust in the benefits of the flu vaccine.

"What our findings show is that we need to improve our communications between physicians and patients about the benefits of the flu vaccination," study author Melissa Skupin, MD, a fellow at Henry Ford Hospital, said in a hospital news release. "Our study showed the benefit of physicians who take a proactive approach in recommending vaccination to their patients. At the same time, we need to re-think our strategy for addressing the perceptions and myths associated with vaccination."

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