Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Christine Stauber


Background: An estimated 50,000 adults in the United States (U.S.) die each year from one of 10 vaccine preventable diseases. For those who survive vaccine preventable infections, health care costs and loss of income become more significant. While children in the U.S. aged 0-2 exhibit vaccine prevalence rates of almost 90%, some adult vaccine prevalence rates in the U.S. population are reported to be nearly 30-40% less than the goals set forth by Healthy People 2010. The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between socio-demographic characteristics of U.S. adults and adult vaccination prevalence for pneumococcal, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, and pertussis.

Methods: Data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey were assessed examining various health indicators and characteristics of non-institutionalized adults and children. The sample was restricted to adults ≥18 years of age. Odds ratios were calculated and multivariate logistic regression was also conducted. P-values of

Results: There were 21781 total observations; 19.3% received the pneumococcal vaccine, 9.4% received the hepatitis A vaccine, 27.2% received the hepatitis B vaccine, 55.1% received the tetanus vaccine, and 15.2% received the pertussis vaccine. Of the socio-demographic characteristics examined, age, health insurance, marital status, and education were significant for either all five or at least four of the vaccines included in this study. As one might expect those who reported health insurance and those who had a higher level of education usually had a higher likelihood of vaccine receipt as compared to those without health insurance and those with less than a high school education. Age associations varied due to age-related recommendations for certain vaccines such as pneumococcal (recommended for adults ≥65). Compared to the married population (referent), marital status results varied, but for reasons unclear. Whites, the referent group, were the most likely to be vaccinated as compared to Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, and Asians. Hispanics/Latinos typically had the lowest likelihood of vaccination in this examination.

Conclusions: This study further explores the impact of socio-demographic disparities on vaccination status and adds new information to the literature regarding adult vaccination rates for preventable diseases. While research exists related to strengthening interventions such as patient reminder systems, those who do not see the same health care providers on a regular basis remain at risk for lower vaccination prevalence. It is important to better understand the role of social determinants of health, specifically in terms of vaccinations. Future research is needed to further characterize the association of socio-demographic factors with receipt of optional vaccines in adults.