Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) recognizes National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 5-9). In recognition of this observance, CMS OMH is highlighting disparities in influenza vaccination, or flu shots, and encouraging everyone who is eligible to get their flu shot, which helps to protect against the flu and has been proven to reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization, and death.
In previous flu seasons, 9 out of 10 adults hospitalized for the flu had at least one underlying medical condition. It is important for people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease to get vaccinates as they have a higher risk of serious complications. People aged 65 and older, people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heat disease, pregnant people, and children under 5 are especially at risk of developing serious flu complications.
During the 2021-2022 flu vaccination disparities continued to be present among Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native adults, with each of these populations having lower uptake than White and Asian adults. During most flu seasons between 2009 and 2022, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaskan Native Adults have also been shown to have higher flu hospitalization rates. Disparities in flu vaccine uptake are also seen among the rural populations, with rural individuals with Medicare Advantage or Medicare Fee-For-Service having lower uptake than the national average.
It is important to highlight the importance of the flu vaccine and to share information with your community. During National Influenza Vaccination Week, we encourage you to utilize and share the resources below.
- Visit our Immunization and Vaccine Resources webpage to view a list of flu resources for health care providers and a list for partners and patients.
- Review our Flu Vaccine Data Snapshot (PDF) for an overview of who should get the flu vaccine and information about flu vaccine disparities among Medicare Fee-For-Service enrollees.
- Download and share these postcards available in x languages to encourage your community to get their flu shot.
- Review our Coverage to Care Prevention Resources to learn about the services available at no cost to adults under most health coverage, including vaccines. Resources are available in multiple languages.
- Download Rural-Urban Disparities in Health Care in Medicare (PDF) to learn more about rural-urban differences in health care experiences and clinical care received nationally in 2021, including flu vaccine uptake.
- View the CMS Flu Vaccine Partner Toolkit to help you stay informed on CMS, CDC, and HHS materials available on the importance of the flu vaccine.
- Visit the CDC’s The Difference Between Cold and Flu and The Difference between Flu and COVID-19 for more information of differentiating between the flu, a cold, and COVID-19.
- For information on vaccine eligibility, visit the CDC’s Who Should & Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated.
Check out the CDC’s 2022-2023 Flu Season FAQ for additional information.