Objectives. This study examined differences between elderly Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries and other Medicare beneficiaries in the probability of being immunized for pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza.
Methods. We used the 1992 national Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey to evaluate influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia immunization rates.
Results. Elderly Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries were less likely than non-Hispanic White Medicare beneficiaries to have received an influenza vaccine in the past year or to have ever been immunized for pneumococcal pneumonia. Speaking Spanish was statistically significantly associated with influenza vaccination but not with pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination. Supplemental insurance status, HMO enrollment, having a usual source of care, and being satisfied with access to care were positively associated with immunization.
Conclusions. Strategies that may improve immunization rates among elderly Hispanics include reducing the inconvenience of being immunized, decreasing out-of-pocket costs, linking beneficiaries with providers, and educating Hispanic beneficiaries in Spanish about the benefits of vaccinations.