Ohio State’s Flu Vaccination Initiative Tackles Racial Inequalities in Health Care


“Vaccination is our best defense against the flu, and we wanted to make sure that all the communities we serve were equally protected,” said Dr. Aaron Clark, family physician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and medical director of the Ohio State Health. Responsible care organization.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks and Hispanics have higher rates of serious illness, hospitalizations and death from influenza, compared to the white population, and significantly higher rates of influenza vaccination. lower. In the 2019-2020 flu season, 53% of whites received the flu shot, compared to 41% of blacks and 38% of Hispanics.

“If there is a way to reduce this disparity by providing better access to vaccines and addressing community concerns, it is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Clark.

flu disparitiesTo that end, in August 2020, the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center increased the number of influenza vaccines it purchases and created new clinical procedures to offer influenza vaccines in its emergency departments, clinics, and clinics. retail pharmacies, primary and specialty care clinics and inpatient units. A team of nurses called patients in target zip codes to encourage flu shots and address patient concerns. In addition, the health system has organized drive-thru flu vaccination campaigns and pop-up flu vaccination clinics with community partners and deployed a mobile health unit to deliver flu vaccines to local communities. underserved communities.

As a result of these efforts, emergency departments at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center administered 10 times more flu shots to non-white patients in March 2021 than during the 2019-2020 flu season. Then, the university medical center applies the lessons learned to the COVID-19 vaccination and preventive measures such as diabetes checks and cancer screenings.

“I think what made our initiative so successful where we deployed it was the fact that there was a trustworthy person right next to the patient, answering their questions honestly and openly, without judgment or preconceptions as to whether or not to hesitate. vaccinations, ”Clark said. “Unless you actively research these disparity issues and then find some very transparent ways to resolve them, they will still be there. And so that’s a step towards improving that. “


Media Contact: Serena Smith, Wexner Medical Center Media Relations, [email protected], 614-293-3737

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