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J Natl Med Assoc. 2004 November; 96(11): 1455–1461.
PMCID: PMC2568607

Focus group interviews on racial and ethnic attitudes regarding adult vaccinations.


Adult immunizations have dramatically improved the health of many Americans. In the United States, researchers have documented disparities in the utilization of adult vaccinations between whites and racial and ethnic minority populations. This article examines racial and ethnic attitudes regarding recommended adult vaccinations. METHODS: Four adult focus groups (N=22) were conducted in community churches in San Francisco, CA. Participants were either age-appropriate or had clinical indications to receive a strong recommendation for influenza and pneumococcal immunizations but had not been routinely immunized against influenza and had never been vaccinated against pneumococcal disease. Content analysis was used to analyze narrative data and identify emerging themes. RESULTS: Participants reported that they lacked information about the benefits or potential side effects of influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations and that their physicians were not routinely informing them of, or recommending, these vaccinations. Meanwhile, most participants expressed a willingness to be vaccinated against pneumococcal infection and influenza. All focus group participants felt that community churches were a potential venue for delivery of adult vaccines. CONCLUSIONS: Many adult racial and ethnic minorities have basic information regarding the influenza vaccine but lack sufficient information regarding the benefits of pneumococcal vaccinations. Physicians should provide information regarding adult vaccinations to all patients. On-site vaccination and vaccine education programs in community churches may be successful in increasing the utilization of adult vaccinations in unvaccinated church populations.

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