NYMC Faculty Publications

Flu Vaccine Uptake in Caregivers and Noncaregivers: Implications for Policy and Practice

Author Type(s)


Journal Title

Preventing Chronic Disease

First Page


Document Type


Publication Date



Public Health

Second Department



INTRODUCTION: Caregivers are a critical and highly used health care resource. Caregivers may experience adverse health outcomes and practice less self-care, including obtaining vaccinations, while serving in their roles. Influenza (flu) is a common infectious disease responsible for millions of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and approximately 43,000 US deaths annually that can largely be prevented by receiving seasonal vaccinations. We aimed to estimate and compare the prevalence of flu vaccination among caregivers and noncaregivers. We hypothesized that caregivers would have a lower prevalence of flu vaccination than noncaregivers and that sociodemographic variables, health-related variables, and caregiving-specific characteristics would be associated with vaccine uptake. METHODS: We analyzed Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 2016 through 2018 on 154,170 respondents from 27 US states and the District of Columbia. We used bivariate analysis to estimate the difference in flu vaccination uptake among caregivers and noncaregivers and logistic regression to estimate differences after adjusting for individuals' characteristics. RESULTS: Logistic regression indicated no significant difference in flu vaccine uptake between caregivers and noncaregivers. Caregiving characteristics such as years in a caregiver role, weekly time spent caregiving, relationship to care recipient, and recipient's risk for flu complications were also nonsignificant. Sociodemographic factors such as marital status, income, health insurance coverage, and race had a significant impact on flu vaccine uptake. CONCLUSION: Although no significant differences in flu vaccine uptake were found between caregivers and noncaregivers, flu vaccine coverage remains low in both groups. Evidence-based programs and policies to improve vaccine coverage in the caregiver and general populations remains a public health priority.