Vaccine Campaign Focuses on Minorities
USA Today; 8D
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have begun a two-year public awareness campaign to encourage pneumonia and influenza vaccination in African-American and Hispanic communities. HHS deputy secretary Claude Allen notes that while 67 percent of whites age 65 and older got flu shots in 2000, only 48 percent of African Americans and 56 percent of Hispanics did so; in the same year, 57 percent of whites, 31 percent of African Americans, and 30 percent of Hispanics were vaccinated against pneumonia. According to Allen, between 6,000 and 12,000 senior citizens die each year of pneumonia, and 18,000 die from the flu. The campaigns--which will be funded on Sept. 1--will begin in Mississippi, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Rochester, N.Y. Meanwhile, CDC National Immunization Program director Walter Orenstein reports that roughly 77 percent of the children born between February 1998 and May 2000 received their childhood vaccinations. He said shortages of some of these vaccines have been resolved in most areas, although pneumococcal vaccine shortages are expected to continue through at least the end of 2002.