Pneumonia Vaccination Rate Has Increased in Older Adults

Number still short Healthy People 2010 goal, and there are substantial racial disparities
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The number of elderly Americans who get vaccinated against pneumonia has increased, but the proportion is still less than 60 percent, and disparities exist among ethnic and racial groups, according to the 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report, published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

According to the report, by 2007, 57.8 percent of Americans aged 65 and older were vaccinated against pneumonia, up from 53.4 percent in 2000. The number falls short, however, of the Healthy People 2010 goal of vaccinating 90 percent of older adults.

The report also revealed a lower vaccination rate for elderly blacks than for elderly whites, 44.4 percent compared with 60 percent, and even lower rates for Asians and Pacific Islanders, at 34.5 percent, and Hispanics, at 32.4 percent. The rate among lower-income older Americans was 48.6 percent; among the higher-income group it was 61 percent.

"With the exception of blacks with at least some college education, blacks and Hispanics at all education levels were significantly less likely than whites to ever have had a pneumococcal vaccination," the authors write.

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