Assessing the relationship between educational attainment and flu vaccination: an examination of the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


Information Systems and Security

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School of Data Science and Analytics

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Aim: In this study, using the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), two methods by which knowledge regarding influenza (flu) vaccine and virus, formal education level and prior health conditions are examined to determine whether flu vaccination rates vary across their levels, controlling for other demographic covariates. Subject and methods: The sample size for this study was 342,192 adults living in the United States in 2019 who responded to the CDC’s BRFSS. To assess this research question, a binary logistic regression model and χ 2 tests of homogeneity were used to compare the adjusted and non-adjusted odds ratios, respectively, across the levels of the independent variables of interest and demographic covariates. Results: Results indicate that greater levels of educational attainment and health condition diagnoses, including diabetes and pulmonary disease, are associated with an increased likelihood of flu vaccination. Specifically, the odds that a college graduate would have reported receiving the flu vaccine were nearly twice those for individuals with less than a high school education (OR = 1.85; 95% CI = 1.74, 1.97). Conclusion: While a causal relationship cannot be established from an observational study, results may indicate a need for improved access to opportunities to receive knowledge about the flu virus and vaccine from trusted educators, possibly in elementary and secondary school curricula, as well as from healthcare professionals.

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Journal of Public Health (Germany)

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