Influenza virus
November 30, 2017

Frederick News-Post reporter Imade Borha interviewed Sandra C. Quinn (Professor, Family Science and Senior Associate Director, Maryland Center for Health Equity) on the issue of trust, or lack of trust, in flu shots, and how that impacts the disparity in vaccine uptake between black and white adults.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that coverage for white adults in the US was about 45.9% for the 2016-2017 flu season. For African American adults, that number is much lower, just 37.4%. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual flu vaccination for all persons aged ≥6 months who do not have contraindications to vaccination.

The subject of the Frederick News-Post article is a study published by Quinn and her University of Maryland colleagues Amelia Jamison and Greg Hancock, along with Vicki Freimuth of University of Georgia in the November issue of Social Science and Medicine. In that study, Quinn and the team explored the issue of trust, and racial differences in trust, of the flu vaccine and the vaccine process.

In the Frederick News-Post article, Quinn notes that promoting vaccine uptake may be tied to increasing knowledge about risk perception. “We know people with a higher perceived risk of the flu will get vaccinated," she said. "Let’s talk about the message of why this is a serious risk and how the disease itself is nothing to play with.” Borha notes that Quinn’s approach to tackling the issue of distrust is to meet it head on. On responding to how she relates to individuals with distrust of vaccines, Quinn remarked, “If I took the approach of, ‘Well, that’s kind of silly', if I dismissed those views I would have no opportunity for a dialogue and to build trust.”

Related Links

Debunking flu shot myths while skeptic and black

Determinants of trust in the flu vaccine for African Americans and Whites

Related People
Sandra C. Quinn, Amelia Jamison