• immunizations;
  • healthcare disparities;
  • rural health services

OBJECTIVES: To examine the receipt of age-appropriate influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccinations (PPV), with particular attention to rural minority persons.

DESIGN: Data were drawn from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The dependent variables were self-reported receipt of annual influenza immunizations in adults aged 50 and older (n=177,417) or lifetime pneumococcal immunizations in adults aged 65 and older (n=81,762). The main independent variables were residence and race.

MEASUREMENTS: All data are self-reported. Multivariate analysis controlled for selected personal and county-level characteristics. Analyses were conducted in 2009/10.

RESULTS: Forty-two percent of adults aged 50 and older reported an influenza vaccination; 31.1% of rural African Americans reported an influenza vaccination, and 64.6% reported a PPV. White and African-American rural residents reported lower vaccination rates. Adjusted analysis indicated an interaction between race and rurality. White rural residents were more likely to be vaccinated than other whites, whereas rural African Americans were less likely to be vaccinated than urban African Americans.

CONCLUSION: This study confirms previous findings while finding an interactive effect between rurality and race. The results indicated the importance of provider availability to delivery. Alternative delivery methods may be an effective solution to improve delivery rates.