- · Canadians of Asian descent were found to have the highest vaccination rates
- · After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, all ethnic groups studied (with the exception of black Canadians) were found to have higher vaccination rates than white Canadians
Primer: A measure of success for vaccination campaigns is the proportion of a population that receives a given vaccine. By identifying subgroups of a population with poor coverage, targeted interventions can be developed to improve vaccination rates. In the United States, many studies have demonstrated large ethnic differences in influenza vaccination rates. In Canada, however, little evidence is available exploring these disparities.
This [cross-sectional] study: Published recently in CMAJ, this study sought to estimate influenza vaccination rates across 12 ethnic groups in Canada. Data were obtained from the 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009 cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey, which is voluntarily collected by Statistics Canada. The dependent variable was self-reported influenza vaccination, and individuals were considered actively immunized if they had a flu shot within the past year. The independent variable was self-reported ethnicity.
After excluding respondents who were missing ethnicity or vaccination data (n=24,670), the study sample included 437,488 people. Participants from ethnic minorities comprised 18% of the study sample. In participants 12 years of age or older, Canadians of Filipino (41%; 95% CI 37-44%), Japanese (38%; 95% CI 32-44%), and Chinese (35%; 95% CI 33-36%) descent demonstrated significantly higher influenza vaccination rates compared to white Canadians (32%; 95% CI 31-32%). On the other hand, Canadians of Latin American (26%; 95% CI 23-29%), West Asian/Arab (26%; 95% CI 23-29%), and black (27%; 95% CI 25-29%) ethnicity had significantly lower vaccination rates. In participants 65 years of age or older, a similar trend was observed, though the vaccination rates were considerably higher. After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, it was found that all ethnic groups studied (other than black Canadians) were more likely to receive the influenza vaccine compared to white Canadians.
In sum: Other than black Canadians, all the ethnic groups studied were found to have higher odds of receiving the influenza vaccine compared to white Canadians. These findings are similar to those of studies in the United States, which demonstrate higher vaccination rates amongst Asian Americans. Limitations of this study include the fact that both vaccination status and ethnicity are self-reported.