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Flu prevention declines


More than 60 percent of California adults fail to get an annual flu shot, with African American residents having the lowest rate of immunization, according to a UCLA study released this week.

The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, found that Koreans had the highest immunization rate at 48.9 percent, followed by the Vietnamese at 46.7 percent. White residents had a 40.2 percent immunization rate, roughly the same as groups such as Latino, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, South Asian and Asian.

The immunization rate among Black residents was 28.5 percent. The study, based on the California Health Interview Survey for 2011-12, found that about one-third of California adults were immunized, up from one-fourth of residents in 2005.

“It’s important to get the word out,” said Ninez Ponce, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and a co-author of the study. “Some public health groups and ethnic media are better at communicating the importance of getting a flu shot.”

Ponce said outreach is important, noting that more Vietnamese residents get flu shots in Santa Clara County, where there is a stronger public health infrastructure and more community organizations that promote immunization.