The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing a warning for Blacks and Hispanics, who tend to distrust vaccinations against the H1N1 virus and seasonal flu: You are getting sicker and dying more frequently from the illnesses than your White counterparts.
“We, as African Americans, tend to not get the flu shot in great numbers because we are historically distrustful that, you’re injecting something in me that is bad or that is going to cause me harm,” Dr. Corey Hebert, a New Orleans-based pediatrician and member of the CDC’s media advisory board, said in Detroit last week. “But we’ve got to look at the data now.
“This has been a vaccine that has been safe and has prevented serious illness. The vaccine has a high percentage of protection if you are confronted with the influenza virus. Even if it doesn’t prevent the virus completely, it will reduce the symptoms that you do get.”
The Atlanta-based centers, acknowledges however, that “the reasons for the more severe outcomes among Blacks and Hispanics are unknown.” It may have something to do with various other societal conditions that heighten the likelihood of contracting the flu “or the timing of medical care and or treatment,” the CDC said in a recent report. The bottom line, Hebert says, is that everybody needs to get flu shots and get to the doctor if you believe you have flu symptoms. “There is no way a physician can tell you that you have any type of influenza over the phone, or even in the office, without doing a test,” he says.