TUESDAY, May 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Only half of the U.S. population with cardiovascular disease report being up to date on influenza vaccination, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, held virtually from May 15 to 17.

Varayini Pankayatselvan, M.D., from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues used the 2018 to 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to assess receipt of influenza vaccination within the past year. The analysis included 101,210 respondents who reported a physician diagnosis of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, or stroke.

The researchers found that only 50.4 percent of respondents received a flu shot within the previous year, with rates similar between men and women and geographic region. Vaccination was more likely among those who went to college versus those with less education (odds ratio [OR], 1.19). Black (OR, 0.81) and Hispanic (OR, 0.83) respondents were less likely to report vaccination versus Whites. A higher likelihood of vaccination was seen among individuals reporting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR, 1.16), chronic kidney disease (OR, 1.37), and diabetes (OR, 1.32).

“As a nation, the U.S. health care system must do a better job protecting a population that is at very high risk for serious complications and death from the flu,” Pankayatselvan said in a statement. “As physicians, it is our job to help patients take these simple but effective preventative measures as well as to determine what the barriers to vaccination are, so we can help our patients get around them.”

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