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Comparison of the Use of H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccinations between veterans and non-veterans in the United States, 2010

20 Nov 2013

Background:
Veterans of the U.S. armed forces tend to be older and have more chronic health problems than the general adult population, which may place them at greater risk of complications from influenza. Despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, seasonal influenza vaccination rates for the general adult population remain well below the national goal of 80%. Achieving this goal would be facilitated by a clearer understanding of which factors influence vaccination.
Methods:
Using the 2010 U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), this study estimates models of two types of vaccinations (H1N1 and seasonal flu), assesses if the correlates differ for these vaccinations, and analyses the distribution of the correlates by veteran status.
Results:
Veterans, women, non-Hispanic whites, non-smokers, those at high risk, educated, with health insurance, and who use clinics as a usual source of care were more likely to receive both types of vaccinations. Those who were older, married, and with higher income were more likely to get vaccinated for seasonal flu, but not for H1N1. Age and number of children living in the household were found to have different effects for H1N1 compared to seasonal flu.
Conclusion:
Veterans are more likely to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza and H1N1 compared to the general population. This might be due to Veterans having better access to care or Veterans participating in better health care practices. Future studies should examine potential differences in flu vaccination use among Veterans using Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system vs. non-VA users.

Date: 
20 November 2013

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