Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology


Eric Reither


Seasonal influenza produces substantial disease within the United States every year. Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines for influenza, millions of individuals go unvaccinated each flu season, with notable differences across racial/ethnic groups. Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), I examine vaccination rates among non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics during the 2000-2009 influenza seasons. After developing a new method that addresses shortcomings of BRFSS vaccination measures, I find that non-Hispanic whites exhibit higher vaccination rates than Hispanics. Through a series of logistic regression models I show that the disparities between non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics narrow after controlling for healthcare coverage and socioeconomic characteristics. This suggests that seasonal influenza vaccination may be improved among U.S. Hispanics by addressing structural barriers in receiving the vaccine, especially access to health care.


Publication made available electronically December 21, 2011.

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