UTICA, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – During today’s media briefing, the CDC announced new funding for the Vital Signs Report showing racial disparities in vaccination rate and hospitalization rates.

According to CDC, since 2010, flu vaccination rates have been the lowest number among people from minority groups. However, it is also people from minority groups that have the highest hospitalization rates for influenza.

Compared to white adults, “hospitalization rates were nearly 80% higher among black adults, 30% higher among American Indian Adults and Alaska Native Adults, and 20% higher among Hispanic adults,” said Carla Black, Ph.D., M.P.H., Epidemiologist, CDC’s Immunization Services Division.

In addition to racial disparity, Dr. Black also stated that other factors that will impact vaccination rates are access to health care, missing the opportunity to be vaccinated, and mistrust and misinformation surrounding flu vaccination.

As flu season looms, CDC reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated to combat severe illness. CDC said that during the 2019-2020 flu season, vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million cases of flu, 3.7 million flu-related medical visits, and 6,300 flu-associated deaths.

“Vaccination is the best defense we have against the worst outcome of getting the flu. During my time as an ER Doc and throughout my work at CDC. I have seen the reasons behind inequity of vaccination coverage from people from some racial minority groups are systemic and a result of many factors,” said Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H., CDC’s Acting Principal Deputy Director.

CDC called on state and local governments to improve vaccine access in local communities. In addition, CDC is working on raising awareness of vaccination.

“CDC and partners are conducting flu campaign activities, to encourage eligible people to get vaccinated. We are also taking actions to address the equity of flu vaccines uptake and to reduce the burden of severe flu and people from racial and minority groups and Americans as a whole,” said Dr. Black.