Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Office of Community Health and Research in Fayetteville recently published a five-year study showing that Arkansans with primary care providers are more likely to receive the flu vaccine annually.
The study, “Associations Between Five-year Influenza Vaccination and Sociodemographic Factors and Health care Access Among Arkansans,” was published in the journal “Vaccine” by Science Direct. Study participants with health insurance or a primary care provider were twice as likely to receive the flu vaccine annually.
“Establishing a trusted provider-patient relationship is important to vaccine confidence and vaccine acceptance,” said Pearl McElfish, director of the Office of Community Health and Research. “This is important for the flu vaccine and for other vaccines that allow people to live long and healthy lives.”
Following are other study highlights:
- Hispanic women were more likely to receive the vaccine annually.
- Participants without vaccine hesitancy were three times more likely to get the vaccine than those with any hesitancy.
- Participants residing in a metro area and with at least a bachelor’s degree had greater odds of receiving the vaccine annually.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of Arkansans and U.S. residents received the flu vaccine during the 2020-2021 flu season. As of February, more than 174 million vaccine doses had been distributed in the United States, with most of the vaccinations given at a physician’s office.
Recent CDC data showed the vaccines reduced people’s risk of mild-to-moderate flu illness caused by the most common flu viruses this year by 35%.
In Arkansas, recent data from the Arkansas Department of Health shows that since Sept. 27, 2021, healthcare providers have reported 14,807 flu cases. Reported flu-related deaths rose to 26 in the 2021-2022 season, from 24 in the 2020-2021 season. But in the 2017-2018 season, the reported deaths were 227, the highest number in a flu season in the past 15 seasons.