U.S. Pharmacist

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Flu and Pneumonia Immunization Among Older Adults

Somnath Pal, BS (Pharm), MBA, PhD
Professor of Pharmacy Administration,
College of Pharmacy & Allied Health Professions,
St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York

1/23/2007

US Pharm. 2007;1:18.

Data from the 2000 to 2003 National Health Interview Surveys show that 23.2% of the adults 55 and older were in fair or poor health.

Pneumonia Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics reported that between 2000 and 2003, four in 10 adults 55 and older (39.2%) had a pneumonia shot. Adults ages 75 to 84 (60.9%) and 85 and older (58.9%) were almost three times as likely as adults ages 55 to 64 (19.2%) to have had a pneumonia shot.

Non-Hispanic white adults were more likely than all other race groups to have had a pneumonia shot, regardless of age. Among adults ages 55 to 64, non-Hispanic white adults (20.5%) were more likely than non-Hispanic black adults (16.5%) and about twice as likely as Hispanic adults (10.7%) to have ever had a pneumonia shot. Among adults 65 and older, non-Hispanic white adults (58.7%) were about twice as likely as non-Hispanic black adults (34.5%) and Hispanic adults (30.3%) to have had a pneumonia shot.

The prevalence of pneumonia vaccination was associated with poverty status but differed for adults above versus below age 65. Among adults ages 55 to 64, those who were not poor (18.7%) were less likely to have had a pneumonia shot than those who were poor (21.6%) or near poor (23.3%). Among the adults 65 and older, those who were not poor (58.4%) or near poor (53.5%) were more likely than adults who were poor (41.8%) to have had a pneumonia shot.

Adults ages 55 to 64 who had public insurance (27.9%) were more likely than adults who had private insurance (18.6%) and those uninsured (12%) to have had a pneumonia shot. Adults 65 and older with private insurance were more likely than adults with public insurance to have had a pneumonia shot.

Adults who were married were more likely than adults who were formerly married or those who were never married to have received a pneumonia shot.

Flu Vaccine
Among adults ages 55 to 64, women (40.6%) were more likely than men (36%) to have had a flu shot in the past 12 months. Among adults ages 75 to 84, men (71.9%) were more likely than women (67.9%) to have had a flu shot in the past 12 months.

Non-Hispanic white adults were more likely than non-Hispanic black adults to have had a flu shot in the past 12 months, and the difference increased with age.

Among adults ages 55 to 64, those who had private insurance (40.2%) and public insurance (41.6%) were twice as likely as uninsured adults (20.8%) to have received a flu shot in the past 12 months. Among adults 65 and older, nearly seven in 10 with private insurance coverage (68.7%) received a flu shot in the past 12 months, compared to five in 10 adults with public insurance coverage (54.3%) and fewer than six in 10 adults who had Medicare only (57.8%).

Among adults ages 65 to 74, 63.8% who were currently married received a flu shot in the past 12 months, compared to 56.5% who were never married and 55% who were formerly married.

To comment on this article, contact editor@uspharmacist.com.

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U.S. Pharmacist is a monthly journal dedicated to providing the nation's pharmacists with up-to-date, authoritative, peer-reviewed clinical articles relevant to contemporary pharmacy practice in a variety of settings, including community pharmacy, hospitals, managed care systems, ambulatory care clinics, home care organizations, long-term care facilities, industry and academia. The publication is also useful to pharmacy technicians, students, other health professionals and individuals interested in health management. Pharmacists licensed in the U.S. can earn Continuing Education credits through Postgraduate Healthcare Education, LLC, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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