Each year, more Hispanics are impacted by the flu virus. That means that this year’s flu season has been especially rough for the community, as its been considered one of the worst in years. Although the latest FluView report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the flu epidemic is finally easing, it is still claiming lives across much of the United States—especially in areas with high Hispanic population density such as Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, and New York. Here are some factors that are impacting Hispanics this flu season:
Hispanics are not getting vaccinated: Research shows that Hispanics are not getting vaccinated against the flu. In fact, vaccination coverage for Hispanics is at 33%, which is the lowest among all race/ethnicity groups vs. 47% for non-Hispanics. This suggests that there is a lower level of outreach to inform the community about the importance of having themselves and their families vaccinated against the virus.
Hispanics have a higher risk: The flu virus not only affects the elderly, but it also has a major impact on young children, pregnant women as well as those who already suffer from medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease and obesity. This becomes a major cause for concern especially among the Hispanic population given that Hispanics are more likely to live in larger households with children (50% vs. 28% for non-Hispanics) and their prevalence for these types of diseases over-index that of non-Hispanics. For instance, Hispanic obesity prevalence is at 42% vs. only 28% for non-Hispanic whites.
Although the flu epidemic is gradually subsiding, it’s important not to forget that it is still impacting people’s lives, particularly Hispanics. There is clearly still a lack of information being shared with this community as family and health are top priority. With the right outreach—speaking to them in language and in culture — healthcare marketers have the opportunity to save lives and prepare the community for the next flu season.
Source: CDC “People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications.” MMWR Surveillance of Vaccination Coverage Among Adult Populations — United States, 2014