By David Orenstein-Brown

BROWN (US) — African-American nursing home residents are less likely to get flu shots than whites, even within the same facility, according to a new study.

Overall, vaccinations have yet to reach the 90 percent level sought by Medicare and Medicaid. In most cases patients go unvaccinated because they refuse the shots, suggesting better communication about the vaccine may be needed.

“One reason you would potentially see a difference is that blacks and whites are by and large served by different nursing homes and there’s lots of evidence to suggest that blacks are served in nursing homes that are not as good,” says Vincent Mor, professor of health services policy and practice at Brown University.

“However, we also see a pretty persistent difference within the same homes, although it is not as large and it has lessened over time.”

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