U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Vaccination prevents the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccination for influenza is recommended for young children 6 months through 18 years of age, adults aged 50 years and older, pregnant women or women who will be pregnant during flu season, persons with certain chronic medical conditions, persons in long-term care facilities, and health care workers and other persons in close contact with those at high risk.1 In 2007, 44.8 percent of women aged 55–64 years and 66.3 percent of women aged 65 years and older reported receiving a flu vaccine in the past year; this varied, however, by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic White women were more likely than women of other races and ethnicities to have received the flu vaccine: 47.0 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds and 68.4 percent of those aged 65 years and older did so. Fewer than 57 percent of non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women aged 65 years and older received the flu vaccine.

Pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine is recommended for adults aged 65 years and older and for people with certain health conditions. In 2007, 60.4 percent of women aged 65 and older reported ever receiving the vaccine. In this age group, 65.1 percent of non-Hispanic White women had ever received the pneumonia vaccine, compared to 45.4 percent of non-Hispanic Black women and 36.4 percent of Hispanic women.

Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended to reduce the spread of hepatitis B, which may result in cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and even death.2 Hepatitis B vaccination also varied by race and ethnicity, as well as age. Younger women were most likely to have received at least one of the three recommended doses, and non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black women in every age group were more likely than Hispanic women to have received the vaccine.

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer and other diseases in women. In 2006, the HPV vaccine was recommended for adolescent females and young women aged 9–26 years.3 In 2006–2007, 10 percent of women aged 18–26 had been vaccinated for HPV (data not shown).4

Bar graph: Receipt of Selected Vaccinations Among Women [D]

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention and Control of Influenza: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR, July 28, 2006: 55(RR10); 1-42. http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/, accessed 02/23/09.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Comprehensive Immunization Strategy to Eliminate Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the United States. MMWR, Dec 8, 2006: 55(RR16); 1-25. http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/, accessed 02/23/09.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: HPV and HPV Vaccine – Information for Healthcare Providers. Aug 2006. http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/default.htm, accessed 03/03/09.
4 Jain N, Euler GL, Shefer A, Lu P, Yankey D, Markowitz L. Human papillomavirus (HPV) awareness and vaccination initiation among women in the United States, National Immunization Survey-Adult 2007. Preventive Medicine. 2008; Dec [online Epub].

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