Latinos Less Likely to Receive Life-Saving Vaccines
August 28 2012
By Hope Gillette, VOXXI
Originally published by VOXXI as "Immunization: U.S. Hispanics skipping life-saving vaccines"
When it comes to life-saving immunizations, Hispanics in the U.S. receive fewer vaccines compared to non-Hispanics whites.
According to the Office of Minority Health (OMH), Hispanics are less likely to take part in pneumococcal vaccinations, influenza vaccinations, hepatitis vaccinations, childhood vaccinations and human papilloma vaccinations.
The low rates of immunization might be related to lack of insurance and lack of awareness on which vaccines are important.
Pneumococcal vaccines prevent against a lung infection caused by Streptococcus pneumonia. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 85 percent of pneumococcal cases in the United States are in adults, and 15 to 20 percent of cases are fatal.
People with Pneumococcal meningitis can develop paralysis, blindness, seizures and hearing loss. Other symptoms include disorientation, neck stiffness, shortness of breath, chills, fever, cough and light sensitivity.
The most recent data indicates, within the 19 to 64 age group, 14.8 percent of Hispanics received the pneumococcal vaccine compared to 19 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
Hepatitis B vaccination
Hispanics are less likely to take part in pneumococcal vaccinations, influenza vaccinations, hepatitis vaccinations, childhood vaccinations and human papilloma vaccinations.
The hepatitis B vaccine protects against hepatitis B, an infection which causes liver inflammation. People with hepatitis B generally make full recoveries; however, some individuals manifest severe symptoms which can include: vomiting, fatigue, fever, joint pain, jaundice and abdominal pain.
Some individuals with hepatitis B never know they are infected, and because of this asymptomatic status, they can spread the disease to others.
The OMH states 33.8 percent of Hispanics between the ages of 19 and 49 received three or more doses of the hepatitis B vaccines compared to 44.5 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
The influenza vaccine is an important part of preventing the flu. Older individuals are at particular risk for complications from this illness. The disease is caused by a virus, which causes respiratory illness in most individuals.
Symptoms include: fever, chills, headaches, sore throat, fatigue, headaches, body aches, cough and runny or stuffy nose.
The CDC states getting a flu vaccination is the best method of prevention for this illness; however, only approximately 40 percent of Hispanics over the age of 18 have received the flu vaccination compared to 52.7 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
Human papilloma virus
Symptoms of the flu include: fever, chills, headaches, sore throat, fatigue, headaches, body aches, cough and runny or stuffy nose.
Known as a sexually transmitted infection, the human papilloma virus (HPV) is one of the attributed causes for cervical cancer. Unlike many of the other diseases Hispanics can receive inoculations for, HPV is usually without symptoms until it has caused a more serious issue, such as cancer.
Hispanic women are twice as likely to develop cervical cancer when compared to non-Hispanic whites, and are 1.4 times as likely to die from the disease.
According to the OMH, only 15.1 percent of Hispanics between the ages of 19 and 26 have received the HPV vaccine compared to 22.4 percent of Hispanics.
When it comes to childhood vaccines, Hispanics are only slightly below non-Hispanic whites; 84.4 percent of Hispanics got their children the universally recommended vaccination — 4 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP) — compared to 84.5 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
DTaP protects against two contagious diseases as well as tetanus which is spread through cuts or wounds. According to the CDC, DTaP is an important vaccine for children, but adults should also seek inoculation if they were never given the 5-dose series during childhood.
Issues: Health, Health Care, Health Care Disparities
Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas