Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that vaccination levels for blacks and Hispanics lag behind those for whites. For the first quarter of 2002, 69% of older white people had received an influenza vaccination within the past 12 months, compared with only 50% of older African Americans and 47% of older Latinos, according to CDCs National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Disparities for pneumococcal vaccination coverage were even more dramatic-60% for whites, 32% for African Americans and 26% for Latinos.
To help increase immunizations among these groups, CDC is running a two-year demonstration program, "Racial and Ethnic Adult Disparities Immunization Initiative" (READII-pronounced "ready"). The project is taking place in Chicago, Milwaukee, the Mississippi Delta Region, Rochester, N.Y., and San Antonio. READII is organizing partnerships of public-health professionals, medical providers and community members to identify and implement strategies to increase immunization levels among older African Americans and Latinos. …