Want to hear an interesting story? Well, when the H1N1 flu epidemic hit the U.S. in 2009, I helped to support those prevention communication efforts. I supported preparedness teams that the baddest public health agency in the world and even recorded a PSA targeted towards African American (AA) nurses. I’m so fortunate to have had the opportunity to assist in protecting the nation’s health.  What became apparent, however, is that while most people planned with caution in order to reduce their risk of flu infection, AAs were notably unphased by all of the “hoop-la”.  I remember sending our some prevention information to a local community group that I worked with at time…

CNN Health reported some promising research out of the UK today. Scientists at Oxford University have successfully tested a universal flu vaccine on humans. According to CNN, the vaccine works by targeting protein cells inside the flu virus, which are less likely to mutate. The treatment could protect against flu pandemics such as H1N1 (swine) flu and bird flu – and even be the super vaccine that would end annual flu vaccine requirements.

OK – This is wonderful news, people.  African-Americans (AAs) have some of the strongest beliefs against receiving flu vaccinations.  Don’t believe me? In 2010, the LA County health department reported that AAs, who make up 9% of the population in Los Angeles, received fewer than 3% of the available H1N1 vaccines (200,000) distributed by the county.  And it wasn’t for a lack of promotion either.  The LA county health department launched an extensive campaign to reach AA’s for a vaccination drive (radio campaign, partnering with local minority organizations, and even church, school and community outreach) – all to null success.  In fact, the LA Times reported that few AA residents lined up for vaccines, while Asians traveled to the area from other neighborhoods just to get vaccinated.

Maybe the discovery of a universal flu vaccine will ease reservations surrounding vaccines, especially among AAs. Do you receive annual flu vaccines – What are some of your reservations to receiving flu vaccines?

Source: CNN Health

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